Primary school doesn't allow any toys at playtime

(22 Posts)
RedCanasta Fri 14-Jun-19 19:00:07

This is my first post so thanks for reading :-)
I have a little boy in year 4. He is at a school that looks great on paper, but not so interested in developing any skills that cannot be nationally tested.
Is it normal that schools forbid kids to bring a book/ sketchbook into the playground? There is no playground toys except for a ball. They have chalk boards but won't allow chalks (I am serious). There is a big box of skipping ropes and hoolas etc, and on the rare occasion kids will be allowed access but this is rare.
I just don't understand. I have two boys that sometimes struggle socially. My 9 year old can easily sketch for hours if you let him. It seems like a calm place for him. How can this possibly be forbidden at playtime?
School also has no system in place for kids that feels left out. I was told that they used to have access to the toys but at some point they had been played with inappropriately so now they are taken away. I believe this is also the case with the chalks...
I am trying to challenge this. I think the kids should be allowed to bring a book into the playground if they feel like reading or drawing and I also feel they should have access to the toys!
Is this mad?
Teacher looked at me today as if I was mad.
"We can't possibly allow the children to bring things with them into the playground".
Is it really like this in all schools?
Are your kids allowed to read a book if they feel like it? Or draw if they have a drawing book?
And is it really normal that a school has a big box of toys that are only allowed out once a month?
It is just so Ronald Dahl!
Please let me know if your schools allow fun, before I go all mum berserker on them with a serious email...

OP’s posts: |
Teachermaths Fri 14-Jun-19 19:03:50

Kids feeling left out is a separate issue to the toys.

We never had toys at primary and got on just fine. Occasionally we had a ball but that was rare.

Kids feeling left out should be dealt with though. Maybe suggest a friendship bench where students can sit if they are lonely an someone will come and play with them.

happytoday73 Fri 14-Jun-19 19:06:56

I can understand why might not want items from home to go into school... As get lost, damaged etc and teachers aren't there to guard stuff.... But the rest of it is ridiculous in my opinion... They need things to play with so that they start to play with each other surely! Taking everything away won't allow them to make friends easier.
I can understand won't want them sketching all the time but everyone needs their own type of downtime!

happytoday73 Fri 14-Jun-19 19:09:12

Oh and agree with friendship benchor spot .. Where it can be seen so adults can register which children are struggling and help them

Prestia Fri 14-Jun-19 19:14:25

I'm a teacher and think that's very harsh. I don't allow Barbies/action figures or anything brought from home, but have no problem with books, sketchbooks or skipping ropes.

Chalks we allow when a class is learning outdoors but not during whole school playtimes. There's never enough sticks!

Nat6999 Fri 14-Jun-19 19:15:05

We never had toys provided by school but were allowed to bring things from home, boys played football, girls played with a tennis ball against the wall, had elastic for French skipping or skipping ropes.

Pigpogtastic Fri 14-Jun-19 19:19:08

Our school has reading sheds full of books which the kids can go in and read quietly. They can also read their own books. They bring paper & crayons/pencils out for drawing. And they are planning to add a covered area with building type toys after the summer holidays. They want there to be options for the kids who just want to run around and for those who find that a bit overwhelming and would rather play.


jennymanara Fri 14-Jun-19 19:23:12

Surely kids should be able to play without toys?
Being left out is a separate issue.

RedCanasta Fri 14-Jun-19 19:23:39

Thanks! It is so hopeful to hear that some schools have a more approaching attitude and that it works!
As a parent I often feel that I am dismissed with a "you wouldn't understand" attitude.
I would like to go back to them with some positive stories rather than just a complaint 😀

OP’s posts: |
Ilovewillow Fri 14-Jun-19 19:25:44

Our yr 4 is a junior school so not so many toys given the age of the children. But they can take books/ art etc out for play. They also have lots of balls, skipping ropes etc and a large balance trail. They have a playground and a field with the field having woodland (no tree climbing allegedly). The field has a range of wooden obstacles in the way round. To assist all children they also have yr 5&6 play leaders. My daughter (yr6) is a play leader and they work one day a week each with other leaders and set up games - could be skipping competitions, game of cricket and enable all children who want to join in.

RightOnTheEdge Fri 14-Jun-19 19:30:39

My dcs school has a trolley full of books they can sit on a bench and read at playtimes. They also have chalks and hoops and skipping ropes.
They are not supposed to take their own things but the boys are terrible for sneaking cars and little toys in their pockets!

BackforGood Fri 14-Jun-19 19:30:54

Are we talking playtime, or the longer period of playing out at lunchtime ?

The shorter (usually 15min) break mid morning, is just a chance to run out , stretch legs and get a bit of air. There isn't time to be getting out and then collecting in boxes of equipment. The dc are sitting for most of the day - I wouldn't want to be encouraging that during the movement break, and, as I said there is certainly no time to be organising bring equipment in and out.

Longer lunch break I think it make sense to have some more equipment out. Maybe speak to the PTA about fundraising for the school to get some?
However, I don't think it is a good idea to allow stuff in from home. Staff don't have the capacity to be sorting out what belongs to who.

trotesio Fri 14-Jun-19 19:36:00

There's several issues.

Who would the parent blame if the book got lost / damaged / stolen? The school. Schools already have enough to deal with.

Child obesity is rising, children should use break time to exercise.

It creates conflict within children. I taught at a school where almost every lesson after break I was dealing with pen dramas.

RedCanasta Fri 14-Jun-19 20:10:53

I totally understand that kids should be outside for fresh air and exercise. Kids have a tendency to find play when left to their devices. But you cannot force it.
Not all kids want to run around everyone it rings for break.
I think my point is this. School starts at 9am and they are there until 3pm. That is a long time. They are expected to be very good in the lessons. The entire day is structured. For a lot of kids this is great. Others need time to themselves. Is it really that bad for a kids to have a moment to themselves in playtime?
To draw? All drawing at school is structured. Everything they do is following one brief or another. Should we not allow our kids input into what they really want to do in their down time.
I get home toys at school doesn't work, but I really struggle to understand why it is not allowed to bring a book out and read it, or a pen to write in it etc
I love how some schools you write about have some great ways in allowing the kids to be creative in their own time and not making it into a problem.

OP’s posts: |
PantsyMcPantsface Fri 14-Jun-19 20:15:36

Stuff from home - nope.
School puts a load of playground equipment out though and always has one staff member specifically timetabled to be on a duty role of initiating some sensible play with it and gently directing any lost personalities or kids getting out of hand playing inappropriately into joining in with it. Varies from someone handing out hula hoops or hockey sets to staff trying to outdo kids in epic football games or skipping contests depending on how enthusiastic the person on duty is though!

junebirthdaygirl Fri 14-Jun-19 21:15:30

We have never stopped children from bringing out books or colours but they very rarely do as just love running about. We have a large country playground with trees etc so lends itself to hiding etc. We also bring out large boxes full of PE equipment that they can use.
We do encourage playing together and joining in but sometimes children like to wander around by themselves maybe looking for insects etc and that's fine.
But absolutely no toys from home as it always ends in tears.

HolesinTheSoles Fri 14-Jun-19 23:01:03

I think as PP said the issue isn't that they don't allow toys so much as the fact they have no help available for kids who struggle in the playground. At DC's school I don't think you can bring things from home to school (they used to allow football stickers etc but it caused all manor of issues for the teachers to sort out) however there are lots of balls, a large swing (one of those a huge ones a few can ride at a time), trees to climb, climbing frames etc. and they generally mess around with sticks and stones. They can also go to the library and there are some year 6 kids "on duty" who arranges games with anyone who wants to play.

SD1978 Fri 14-Jun-19 23:54:33

No toys from home and a few balls is all that's provided at our school. I thought this was the norm, but maybe it's juts a crap school then.

Hmmmm2018 Sat 15-Jun-19 06:49:25

Similar to others at my childrens school, a reading space available for those who need some time away from the busy (hugely noisy and crowded in my opinion having gone to small schools with large playing fields myself) playground. They also have a buddy bus, specific older children given the role to support younger struggling kids, and they also have a selection of hoola hoops etc, and a large climbing frame. They aren't allowed their own toys though, i presume due to high risk of getting lost in large noisy playground.

Fuzzyspringroll Sat 15-Jun-19 06:49:29

We've got a big shed full of toys for playtime. Each week, there are three children responsible for handing out and collecting in the different toys.
We've also got big buckets of sidewalk chalk in every classroom and kids are allowed to take them out.
I've never worried about kids taking out books. They frequently take papers and pencils with them to do some colouring outside. We're in the process of getting new tables and benches for them to use outside. They can also take their own toys outside but we aren't taking responsibility for damages or loss.
However, we have two 30 minute playtimes and a very extensive play area. The kids have loads of space.

SadOtter Sun 16-Jun-19 02:16:12

We don't allow children to take out their own books, pens etc and their own toys are not even allowed in school because bickering over whose it is, who they said was allowed to look at it etc and searching for lost/stolen items, dealing with damaged items and so on takes up a ridiculous amount of time at the end of break and lunch when they should be back in class.

School provided stuff is different, we have toys, a box of books and a box of drawing stuff year 6 take out and put away.

Questionsmorequestions Sun 16-Jun-19 08:22:21

Our ks1 and reception have bikes, scooters, balls, hoops and other play stuff at the longer playtime and also duplo and cars a few times a week. KS2 have sports equipment, books and spaces to sit and draw. It is better for the children and also for the supervisors as everyone is engaged.
Play leaders are currently trying to spend their new budget and have all sorts of equipment on their wish list.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in