Fire­works ban a hot topic

Hastings Leader - - Front Page - BY BRENDA VOWDEN [email protected]

Novem­ber 5 used to be a night to look for­ward to. It now di­vides the com­mu­nity.

Each year around Guy Fawkes night, the calls go out to ban fire­works — and for good rea­son. This year, Eb­bett Park School Years 2 and 3 teacher So­phie Kereama chal­lenged her class of 27 seven and eight year olds to come up with their own rea­sons why ban­ning fire­works is a good idea. They shared a pas­sion­ate dis­cus­sion about whether fire­works should be banned, So­phie says. Then they wrote about their ideas.

“We are all very proud of their work and were in­ter­ested in shar­ing it with the pub­lic as it is such a hot topic at the mo­ment.”

So­phie says on Mon­day morn­ing dur­ing their shar­ing time, many chil­dren talked about fire­works.

“One child men­tioned how he had heard a dis­cus­sion on the news about ban­ning fire­works. I asked him why they were talk­ing about that. Many other chil­dren joined in say­ing they had heard it on the ra­dio as well as TV. We had a ca­sual chat about it and talked about if their fam­i­lies do fire­works.”

This led to a class dis­cus­sion about why peo­ple were talk­ing about ban­ning fire­works. The chil­dren shared what they al­ready knew and what they had seen or heard in the news.

“Some chil­dren talked about the fire near Cen­tral Hawke's Bay on the week­end. We split into two groups and dis­cussed what a ‘de­bate' is. We had a ‘keep' group and a ‘ban' group. They shared within their groups and we recorded each group's ideas. They then shared those ideas with the op­pos­ing group. Some chil­dren asked to swap groups af­ter that.”

The chil­dren were mainly con­cerned about fires start­ing, peo­ple and an­i­mals get­ting hurt. They talked about how fires dam­age an­i­mals' homes, how dogs and cats run away and were con­cerned that when they run they could get hit by a car. They dis­cussed how the wind would cause more fires be­cause it would blow ash. So­phie says they were very pas­sion­ate about their ideas — al­though they weren't all in favour of a ban.

“I told the chil­dren they did not have to be against fire­works and I wanted them to write about their own opin­ion in­stead. But they had to be con­vinc­ing as to why they thought they should be banned or kept.”

So­phie says there were still a num­ber of chil­dren who want to keep fire­works but they dis­cussed how im­por­tant rules needed to be fol­lowed to avoid dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions.

“One girl wrote about how it is a time that she gets to spend with her fam­ily be­cause they all get to­gether to do it and how happy that makes her.”

The class talked about when and why we use fire­works within in our fam­i­lies, with some writ­ing rules they think need to be re­in­forced.

“For ex­am­ple: buck­ets of wa­ter nearby. Not in your back­yard but open spa­ces in­stead to avoid fires in homes and trees. Do­ing it at places like rivers, beaches, open fields etc. One girl wrote about only us­ing them when ba­bies are born and cel­e­brat­ing life.” The chil­dren's work will be dis­played in class.

“We want other chil­dren from around the school to have a look and see if they agree or dis­agree with some ideas.”

Eb­bett Park School Year 2 and 3 pupils from left Tyler, Ai­den, Airini, Aka­cia andLex­iah show why they think fire­works should be banned.

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