- Have more structured playtimes
- Introduce learning breaks
- Increased physical activity
- Improve children’s engagement during lessons
So, the alarm goes off and you open your eyes on a Friday morning, the last week in October before a long awaited half-term. It is raining, again. How do you feel? Excited? Optimistic? Happy? I doubt it! Let’s face it- you have lead feet and a huge sense of dread as you know it’s going to be a long and challenging day. The children haven’t been out to play all week and you know you have spelling and tables tests to get though before lunch.
But why do we feel like this? Anyone who has ever taught knows the joys of another wet day with 30 7- year olds! Wet playtimes mean that children do not have a chance to get out of your classroom and away from each other for possibly 3 hours straight. This results in frayed nerves (you), reduced levels of attention (them) and often a lot of shouting (everyone)! Lessons often become exercises in behaviour management and little learning takes place.
A quick Google search will return hundreds of pieces of research supporting your personal experience. Children do better in school if they have regular, frequent brain breaks. Depending on age, these could be needed as often as every 20-30 minutes. The same Google search will also give you ideas and games to play to provide these brain breaks. How about a quiz, quick rendition of ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ or even Dough Disco? These are all classroom based. What about those children who need that change of location and more space?
We have talked several times about the need for children to be physically active. Teachers are encouraged to think about physical learning when planning lessons and we all know that exercise releases the endorphins that make you feel great.
This is also true at playtimes. As teachers you want that time away. You need to clear up from the last lesson and prepare for the next. You do not want to have to deal with the challenging behaviour that results from your children being bored on the playground with nothing fun to do. Children are encouraged to play, invent and create and they need the space and time to do this but they also need the support to show them how to play, invent and create without killing each other. Teachers and assistants on duty often don’t have the energy to do this properly or are simply overwhelmed or too busy. Sports and Play Leaders are introduced to help at playtimes but again, they need training and support in order to do the job properly.
So, what if you could combine all these things? Get outside quickly in lessons, get moving in a calm, structured way but not have to plan for it or worry about resourcing it? Wouldn’t it be great if it encouraged team work, cooperation and leadership skills too?
Inspired Playgrounds was born from just these experiences. It is designed to provide that structured, focussed burst of physical activity that your brain and body needs in a busy day. It encourages Leadership, Creativity, Cooperation and Competition.
And fun as well? Something that the children enjoy and look forward to? Now let’s not go asking for too much then, shall we?! 😉