There are numerous pieces of research all with accompanying facts and figures saying that children need to be active. We can all agree that we need to get our classes up an active but when you have standards, attainment, progress, monitoring, behavioural needs and OFSTED looming too, trying to add yet another thing to your already full day may be the tipping point you don’t need!
There are several key things that can be done as a school to increase your children’s activity and take the onus away from your already overworked teachers.
How about introducing Sports leaders to your school? Sports leaders are usually a group of children from one of the older year groups who are given the responsibility of leading the physical activity of the other pupils. They could be the most able sportsmen and women in the school. They then lead by example and will represent the school in tournaments, festivals and competitions. Leadership however involves much more than this and many schools don’t just choose their most able pupils. Sports leaders are also used to lead play at lunchtime and encourage other children to get up and moving. They can teach games and encourage others to develop new skills and even friendships. These qualities can be identified and further developed in other pupils – the most able sportsmen and women might not be your best leaders!
A playground with eight active sports leaders on it every lunchtime will be far more active, focused and purposeful than one without them!
Another suggestion is to use the additional adults you have available in your school to get your pupils out of the classroom. Teaching assistants, and even willing volunteers, can be given the knowledge and resources to lead small intervention groups during the school day. Coordination groups, gross and fine motor control groups, even programs like ‘Write Dance’ and ‘Dough Disco’ can be delivered by any adult in your school. These programs don’t usually need detailed planning either so they can be quickly implemented and delivered. The key for them to be effective and worthwhile is the evaluation of the session and constant communication with the class teacher or SENCO responsible for setting up the intervention. A small amount of initial time preparing the resources needed for this continuous small group intervention will save hours of teacher time in the long run.
A more permanent installation of a resource like an Inspired Playground may also be an option. It only needs to be paid for and installed once and will then last for years!
My last suggestion would be to research the Internet to find one of the hundreds of resources available to you to provide ‘brain breaks’ which can be delivered in the classroom for the whole class. There are many paid for and free activities that can be used on the interactive whiteboard by the teacher to get children moving and dancing in a small area. These activities require no planning and fewer resources and can be used as and when needed, often a lifesaver when the lesson is not going well and you need a break!
Anything that increases the activity of children in your school and eases the workload and day today pressures on your staff has to be worth investigating and implementing in your school doesn’t it?