So happy that Pete Henshaw, resourceful, patient editor of Headteacher Update Primary School Magazine has just included my article on Playground Games (7th Sept 2017). If a child is unhappy at lunchtime… they are unhappy in school. They don’t differentiate. In fact one of my little grandchildren was very upset and said she didn’t like school at all and it turns out it was because it was too noisy in the dining hall!
I’ve been banging the drums about the importance of lunchtimes since Wiltshire LA published my first book for Lunchtime Supervisors in 1982. Later in the early 90s the BBC ran a short documentary ‘Just One Chance’ where they focused on my work in one of my tough London pilot schools… we had children as playground leaders, friendship benches, zoned areas and still, after all these years, these key ideas are not embedded fully in our schools. I see remnants of my ideas in many playgrounds… an old friendship bench standing forlornly in a corner with no one near it, a box of assorted, tired old equipment, one or two children still around with a formerly bright yellow ‘Playground Friends’ cap now gone grey with acid rain… and the truth is that schools start things in a great way because of key individuals who are shiny, enthusiastic and committed… but then they leave. We rarely have in our schools apprenticeship schemes where young members of staff are trained up alongside the current Lunchtime Champion.
… Most important tip EVER… get a working party going that meets at least every 2 weeks to shine up the dining hall and lunchtime systems. If possible include a teacher, TA and a mid-day supervisor – if you can’t afford to pay all the mid-day supervisors to come to meetings ask a different supervisor to come to each meeting and report back. Minutes from each meeting must go back to all the lunchtime team and any decisions you come to – make sure you feed these back through assemblies so the whole school knows what’s happening. The three keywords that change a school are PLAN, DO and REVIEW!! Good luck in getting the games going – the more fun children have, the more they love school… and motivation is the key to powerful learning.
Website Managers Notes
- Please find here a link to the Headteacher Update Magazine article.
- Here is a link to our Playground Pocket Books – full of bright ideas for playground games.
3. To enquire about lunchtimes, dining halls and playgrounds training or early years training, please phone 01225 767157 or email email@example.com