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Advice Please Child Afraid Of The Hall


Jo jo
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Does anyone have any advice for dealing with a child who is afraid of leaving the classroom and in particular going to the hall. The child is in a reception class. He started at the begining of september along with the other children, he settled well and is happy in the classroom. However, he cries and gets upset when we go to the hall we go three times a week for p.e dance and drama. I have suggested that mum takes him to the hall snd reassure him but he is still getting upset.

 

Any advice is greatly appriciated thank you.

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Is it the hall and change of location or could it be the activities he is unsure of? Does he go into the hall at other times to get used to the change when nothing is expected of him?

 

Although a pre-school surprisingly we often have children who are worried about not knowing what to do, getting it wrong, and really disliking the change of routine. this is usually when they start and by allowing them to watch not take part but be in same room, no expectations of them, praise when they even do the tiniest amount they usually join in...but on move to school have the same problem to work through with new location expectations etc..

 

Trying to identify the exact reason will probably allow you to come up with strategies to help the child.

 

Inge

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I have had children at different times who have had this problem. Sometines it is the large space they find daunting, other times it is the activity.

 

I always try to familiarise the children with the space before I make any particular expectations of them re activities. So the first time we visit the hall, we look at the space and talk about what we might do when we are there and perhaps play a ring game. Next time, we take off our shoes and socks and maybe do some thing a bit more complicated like running around and stopping and starting. I would gradually build on these experiences at each visit and eventually change into PE kit.

For a child who is dressed by mum, the expectation of changing and quickly can be too much so this is something else you could talk to mum about. Maybe he is reasonably independent at home but can he manage shirt buttons, trouser zips, shoe laces or heaven forbid a tie!?

 

I have always found that if you can be reasonably relaxed about the situation, the child usually comes round quite quickly. The only child for whom this issue was quite prolonged had quite a lot of other social/emotional problems too. Could that be an issue?

 

Good luck.

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I've had children with the same problem. As Inge says, it might not be the hall that's the problem but the change in routine - they want the environment and the order of events to be the same every day and this is something different. One thing that worked in our situation - and I understand that you may not be able to do this due to staffing - was for one of us to take the child on a quick trip out of the room on a 1-1 basis whenever possible. We asked them if they wanted to come and photocopy soemthing in the staffroom or collect the post, just a really simple, mundane task. Then, once out of the classroom, we just chatted to them a lot about everything we could see, what other people in the school that we saw were doing, etc. The ability to give 1-1 support was really beneficial, it gave the child more confidence and gave us the chance to check whether there was anything in particular upsetting the child.

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Great advice Wolfie about the 1:1 jobs around the school.

If you can find the time to do as Wolfie suggests you could also try to make a point on those trips of going by the hall. If you've got windows into the area you could stop outside & have a quick look and chat about what the children are doing i there. If they're doing something fun you could talk about reception doing it sometime in the hall.

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Thanks everyone great advice as usual! I will introduce the hall to him gradually, and I like wolfie's idea of one to one trips around the school, he can come with me on errands like getting the register etc and build from there.

 

Thanks again :o

Edited by Jo jo
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I imagine we have all had children who have experienced this fear - leaving the safety of their classroom can be very daunting for some young children.

Like Susan I try to break down the expectations into smaller steps for the child to get used to but we have also used social stories - take photos of a PE session (or assembly or other hall activity) showing all the steps that wil happen e.g. walking to hall, getting changed, PE activities ... and most importantly back to classroom. These can then be shared with the child before you go and can offer quite a lot of reassurance about what is going to happen and that you are going to return to the classroom. For some children the fear is how will mum/dad know where to pick them up if they are not in the classroom.

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