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Friday Afternoons!

What is hell? Who knows? It could be absolutely anything. But whatever it is, it will have no comparison to the real hell which is Friday afternoons in a Foundation Unit.

Friday afternoons were invented to ensure that early years practitioners become so stressed, distraught and utterly worn out that they usually have to spend the entire weekend lying down (sometimes sobbing gently and quietly in a darkened room) to enable them to have the sheer will and energy to get up on Monday morning and start all over again. The only time they might actually move during the weekend is when they realise they have a mountain of paperwork which must be ready by 9.00 a.m. Monday morning.

It is a well known fact that anyone who wants to visit a foundation unit – whether a prospective parent, outreach specialist, educational psychologist, risk-assessment advisor, educational catalogue rep., inspector or head teacher – will always check their diary and find that they are free to come on a Friday afternoon.

For them Friday is just another day. And Friday afternoon is when they actually start to look forward to their weekend because they have a sensible job and won’t spend their weekend recovering in a dark room. They are probably not even aware that their arrival in the setting just multiplies the overall chaos and bedlam factor by a stupidly huge number.

They cheerfully spend the afternoon in the setting and assume that what they see there happens all the time. Which it does to a greater or lesser extent, except that by Friday afternoon the children and staff are totally unable to cope with it.

So what does happen in foundation units on Friday afternoons?

It is too horrible to write about in detail, but it invariably involves at least all of the following – being extremely tired, irritable and disruptive, engaging in all kinds of anti-social behaviour: not sharing, being unkind to others, stomping about, refusing to co-operate, throwing things around, being rude and nasty to everyone, hiding away in corners hoping for attention or shouting and sulking alternately for no reason at all. And that is just the staff.

Children are even more bitter and twisted by Friday afternoon. Multiply the adult behaviour by at least 10 to get some idea of how children behave. Then put the adults and children together. Instant disaster movie!

‘The Titanic’? Piffle -just a paddle in a bit of water.

‘Towering Inferno’? Easy-peasy – stop overdramatising!

‘Alien Invasion (3)’? Get real. We’ve spent our time with much more difficult creatures for years without complaining.

Many, many years ago dinosaurs roamed the earth. The dinosaurs who ran foundation units were probably not in the least surprised when they saw a huge comet hurtling through the sky ready to obliterate them. When did it finally hit earth? Yep, Friday afternoon.

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