Living as we do, in such troubled educational times, schools need each other for support, wisdom and inspiration. The old barriers of competition, one-upmanship and insecurity need to be dismantled to allow the winds of a more spiritual approach to sweep through the landscape. We need to be bigger than the problems that trouble us and by reaching out to others we’ll find the solutions for ourselves too. Read on for my blog about a brilliant lunchtimes project!
I have just started work with a partnership of 7 Richmond schools where we are all working on how to create positive playtimes so all children and adults can be the best they can be and excellence at all levels of creativity and learning can be released (big vision, eh?!!!)
Each school is unique – and each playground and playtime is too – consequently we need to find a range of ‘ways in’ to inspire the senior managers, the mid-day supervisory assistants (MDSAs) and the children. Here are some of the approaches I am currently using.
- A whole day with me for senior managers to attend with key MDSAs to hear about new playground research and case studies of what other schools are currently trying out in different parts of the country.
- I ran Circle Times using puppets with young children to help them express their feelings about the playground. With the older children I use Circle Time to show how capable they are of identifying problems and coming up with advice and ideas on how to solve them. The observing mid-day supervisors and teachers then wrote up these ideas to work on later.
- A 2 day workshop in a large school hall so that all 7 schools could bring their entire mid-day team to come to a workshop with me to get excited about ideas. In this workshop I had pre-arranged that an enthusiastic sparkly teacher and TA gave a presentation on all the playground ideas they have been using for the last year and how they have helped the children.
- Everyone was invited to visit this school’s lunchtimes so they could see the ideas in action and talk to the children. They could also try out the games they had learnt in an earlier workshop with me.
- Next month I will visit each school in the partnership to either focus on happier lunchtimes through Circle Time with selected classes or observe and feed back on their lunchtimes or playtimes or run circles with the mid-day supervisors and the SMT together.
What children say so far
“I love it when the older kids come over and teach us good games.”
“I was a Golden Playtime Star of the Week and my Mum was really happy”
“It’s great being in the calm zone with Lucy, she is so soft and peaceful (Lucy is a guinea pig!!)”
What mid-day supervisors say so far
“At last – people are listening to us. Not just telling us to go and play games but having regular meetings where we Plan, Do and Review.”
“I love knowing who is on Play Duty and who is on Patrol Duty with our rota displayed – now we can keep the games going even when there are problems”.
What the teachers say so far
“The best thing we’ve ever done is Jenny’s “Tell A Good Tale” after lunch – especially now as the mid-day supervisors are also telling a good tale. The kids loved the ‘Kerchink’ of self-esteem every time a golden marble pops into the glass. What a great way to start the afternoon.”
Website Manager’s Note
- In addition to working with individual schools and groups of staff, Jenny has been working on larger, transformational projects with Teaching Schools, School Clusters and Partnerships – both primary and secondary. Jenny provides a unique approach to managing lunchtimes and playtimes – working with managers, teachers and midday supervisors to empower staff to bring about positive change.
- To talk to Jenny about a project that you have in mind, whether lunchtimes and playtimes, positive behaviour, creating a listening school, pupil voice or circle times, phone 01225 767157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Meanwhile, to see the resources we have that support lunchtimes and playtimes in our shop https://www.circle-time.co.uk/shop
- Try these books! Top 100 Games to Enjoy SEAL Outside Pocket Playground Games Positive Playtimes
Jenny Mosley’s blog.