The rush to judgement: Mapping moral geographies of the primary school playground

Barbara Chancellor, Brendon Hyndman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


This article is informed by two studies in Australian primary school playgrounds and provides a critique of the interaction between adults and children during recess breaks in the school day. The study investigates the contours/lines of force that shape the moral geographies of playgrounds through management and supervision strategies. This scholarly discussion is underpinned by categories, including play that is risky, unhygienic, worthwhile, an obsession, violent/aggressive and good. It is argued that supervising teachers in the primary school playground can often rush to judge the play that they observe. Although mostly well intentioned, such types of play can often negatively impact adult agendas and biases. At an individual school level, critical engagement with the points raised in this article provides an opportunity for schools to reflect on primary school playground strategies and practices that they implement. Improving understanding of the moral geographies within primary school playgrounds can raise awareness in schools of the implications of supervisory interactions and judgement on the health and wellbeing of pupils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Studies of Childhood
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2017


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