To think playtime should be better managed?

(101 Posts)
TheHouseOnBellSt Thu 02-Jul-15 22:22:51

Fully prepared to be told if I am BU.

I've often heard people say that school is just as important "for social reasons" as it is for academic. It's often trotted out when someone thinks about home education...."But what about her social development??"

And so forth. But...I think that for many children, the reality is that socialising in school is not all it's cracked up to be.

You have some kids who are excellent socially...you could possibly say that they are a minority...I have one DD who is excellent socially and one who'se had to learn.

Anyway...my friend's son has ASD and is in infants but starting to struggle...she's at a loss because he has no one to one at playtime...she's seen him alone...wandering.

He's maybe the extreme end of things but many kids have periods when they need guidance at playtime.

I'm aware that my friend's son has little support from the midday assistants as of course they're trying to "police" a whole playground...

Here's my point....shouldn't there be more support for all the kids at playtime? Some trained staff.....not necessarily teachers...but people who know something about play and learning...who could be more hands on and helpful when it comes to children learning to get on together?

I know there are kids in year 6 who struggle at my own DDs school...kids in other years who do...kids who can't share...kids who bully...kids who have issues understanding the fine nuances of conversation...the list goes on...and yet they're all thrown out together at breaks and expected to sort themselves out!

AIBU?

Samcro Thu 02-Jul-15 22:24:21

nice idea.....but how will you fund this?

OwlinaTree Thu 02-Jul-15 22:25:10

Yanbu. Many pupils need support at unstructured times. Each school makes their own decisions how to support pupils.

Cumbrae Thu 02-Jul-15 22:25:25

Our school has a friendship bench. If you don't have anyone to play with you sit on the bench and someone comes a scoops you up.

I do know a school where all the playtime activities are adult managed games and tbh I think that sounds dreadful.

OwlinaTree Thu 02-Jul-15 22:25:33

Through SEN budget?

Crusoe Thu 02-Jul-15 22:27:29

As the parent of a child who struggles socially I totally agree with you OP.
If only...

mikado1 Thu 02-Jul-15 22:28:20

Are there not teachers present who supervise/can help facilitate play to a certain extent anyway? (I am not in the UK) Our school started bringing out super sized building blocks, car mats and cars and chalks for drawing to help those who find socialising harder than others.

sillysausagewithsauce Thu 02-Jul-15 22:28:32

Our school does this brilliantly. We have play workers (adult), peer mediators (y6), lunch time controllers who are also TAs and really know and care for the children. It sounds like your friend may just be unlucky with the school choice.

TheHouseOnBellSt Thu 02-Jul-15 22:29:04

Cumbrae I don't mean that ALL the time should be managed...but it should be available.

A friendship bench in my opinion makes a child stand out...a child told me that he didn't want to sit on it because everyone knew he had no friends.

Owlina no...for everyone....I didn't want this to become about money. I just wanted to know if people agreed.

TheHouseOnBellSt Thu 02-Jul-15 22:30:34

Mikado not usually. Most schools have "Midday Assistants" who have to watch out for kids safety as well as comfort the ones who have fallen...there aren't many of them per head.

Silly yes..that's what I mean...play workers! It's a skill! My friends school is a good one but the playtime is I think the same as many schools int he UK.

sillysausagewithsauce Thu 02-Jul-15 22:31:07

Teachers are far too busy during lunch and also have to eat!

SEN budgets are tight already.

It is more a case of working with what you have and training the adults (in play work, friendships issues etc) and children in the playground to ensure it is a happy place.

McSmoke Thu 02-Jul-15 22:31:54

It is a nice idea. I was bullied throughout primary. Playtimes were horrible, really lonely and scary periods three times a day. No one gave a shit that I was stood by a wall being excluded with tears streaming doewn my face. Not one adult ever tried to help. Not one single person gave shiny shit about me for 7 years. This was back in the early 80s though.

I would have benefited from your proposal. I like your idea. Maybe training for existing staff would be the most efficient method.

TheHouseOnBellSt Thu 02-Jul-15 22:33:18

silly not teachers...different staff and NOT SEN budget either...it should just bloody BE there. More money is needed if we want children to really thrive.

OwlinaTree Thu 02-Jul-15 22:34:51

Big issue tho getting people to work for one hour a day, right in the middle of the day. Peer mentoring would be better.

YouTheCat Thu 02-Jul-15 22:35:11

I'm a TA and also lunchtime assistant. I do my best. If I see a child on their own, I ask them if they are okay on their own (because some prefer to wander with their own thoughts) and whether they'd like me to help them find a friend. I probably do this more with the younger children.

Tbh a lot of time is spent managing behaviour.

OwlinaTree Thu 02-Jul-15 22:35:59

Problem is this is so far down the list of priorities to spend money on.

Samcro Thu 02-Jul-15 22:36:16

sorry op but where is the"more money' coming from?

TheHouseOnBellSt Thu 02-Jul-15 22:36:32

Owlina well schools find midday assistants with no bother. Why not train local people to do it?

cat you sound like a lovely person...not all of the assistants are that sensitive. ....and I understand about the managing behaviour thing too.

m0therofdragons Thu 02-Jul-15 22:37:05

At dd's school the lunch time supervisors get out equipment like skipping ropes and balls etc and often help holding the rope and encouraging the dc to play games. If dc are left out they've been known to get dc together and start a game like duck duck goose. I must admit I was surprised how much they watch the dc and engage.

They also have a bench dc can sit on if they're lonely and other dc see them and go over and play with them. From what dd says it works well. I've only heard positive things about the bench. Maybe that's about how the school presented it to the Dc.

TheHouseOnBellSt Thu 02-Jul-15 22:37:12

Sam I don't know and that wasn't my question...I just wanted to know if people agreed.

switswoo81 Thu 02-Jul-15 22:42:07

I'm a teacher, not in the UK and over here trained teachers supervise the playground. Even though I am very experienced and have postgraduate courses in additional needs it is very difficult to assist children socially. I try my best to lead children to others but as soon as my attention is distracted by a skinned knee the children seperate again. Thats not to say however I don't agree with working on the best strategy to help all children enjoy their break with their peers.It is something we have talked about at many staff meetings.

OwlinaTree Thu 02-Jul-15 22:43:37

Well I wouldn't say it's with no bother. Ours are great too. If a child has specific needs, they should have extra support. We model social skills in classes etc, so children can use these skills on the yard.

YouTheCat Thu 02-Jul-15 22:47:42

We are always short staffed. Lots of people don't want to work a few hours a week in the middle of the day.

We have older children playing games with the younger ones. Also have play equipment. Sadly, most of the equipment goes missing or gets broken very quickly and we just don't have the budget to replace things.

Just today, I dealt with 3 skinned knees - 5 minutes each. Then there was a bumped head which took 10 minutes (got icepack, comforted child, informed teacher and wrote it up in the accident book). Then there was an incident of bullying, which used up another 5 minutes and a child who falls out with his friends every single lunchtime because he only wants to play 'his' games. Then there's the lovely little child who has DS (she is a right little tinker and everyone adores her). She regularly wets herself and that takes time to sort out too.

I reckon out of the hour today, I probably had about 10/15 minutes of time to actually interact and help children who might have been struggling with lunchtime.

RufusTheReindeer Thu 02-Jul-15 22:52:18

It's a lovely idea

But as you says, finding staff can be difficult and they would obviously need paying

In an ideal word you would need maybe two extra people just to start games which children could join in with if they wanted to

BrilliantDayForTheRace Thu 02-Jul-15 23:00:52

Both my local schools do do this. They've employed learning mentors / play workers whose job it is to proactively get everyone involved at break time.

I'm fairly sure this came out of their large pupil premium budget.

Really helped my DS who now has much better social skills than he did a year ago.

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