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Ditching Playtime?


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I'm thinking about new ways to organise things in my reception class next year (we're one form entry) and I'm wondering about whether to ditch joining Y1 and Y2 for playtime. In my last school (3 form entry and nursery) we had no playtime as the children had free flow access to the outdoor area for the majority of the day (except at carpet times) and had such a strong play-based curriculum we didn't feel they needed a playtime with the rest of the infant school. I would like to do this next year as it would free up a surprising amount of time on our timetable. This would mean we wouldn't be so frantic to get our phonics, focus activities, maths session, storytime, observations etc etc done. Also tit would be one less thing to have to stop the children playing for (like assembly and carpet times) so the children would have more opportunity to really settle into their play for extended periods of time.

 

The thing is, while we have freeflow access to our outdoor area and the same commitment to play, our outdoor space is not as large as at my previous school and so the children are not able to really run about in the same way they do at playtime. To be honest I don't remember my reception classes at my last school charging around in the outdoor area even though it was big enough for them to do so - they were busy playing with various resources and didn't tend to rush around being power rangers / monsters / Dr Who! :o

 

I can see the above benefits of playtime as well as the opportunity to socialise with the KS1 children and am unsure whether to scrap reception playtime or not. I really feel that the children have opportunity to play throughout the day so shouldn't need playtime but I wondered what you all think? Do they need the big rushing about space? Pros and cons of timetabled playtimes please!

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I too am thinking of ditching playtimes and assemblies as of September and just joining the rest of the school on a Friday for celebration assembly and lunchtimes.

 

I have already done my timetable for September with this missing and it written on that we will be having free flow indoors and out - they don't need a mad 20minutes charging around on the big playground.

 

I am starting my promotion as FS Co-ordinator in September (although the rest of the staff aren't being told - another thread I need to ask people's opinions on please) and there will be 2 reception classes which I am working out at the moment. I have found that playtimes and assemblies take out too much time in the day that aren't necesary. So my plan will be to scrap them - I have a meeting tomorrow with the other teachers I'm working with to 'discuss' my ideas - am not allowed to say 'I would like us to ...' :o

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Hi

 

This has been our first year running as a foundation stage unit. We only go to celebration assembly on a Wednesday unless it is a special occasion and we don't have breaktimes, for the same reasons mentioned already. Initially some staff found this challenging as it also meant they didn't really get a break. But it is definately worked well for the children and the timetabling.

 

Elfy

x

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Like you Emma I have a very strong play based curriculum but we also have access to a wonderful timber built play area which I use for playtime and its really nice because the children can climb and run. Its nice to watch them as well because there are no other resources out there so you can see their imaginations. As we are a small school we sometimes share this time with yr 1 and 2 and again i see it as a time for them to get used to being in a bigger class.

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I too am thinking of ditching playtimes and assemblies as of September and just joining the rest of the school on a Friday for celebration assembly and lunchtimes.

 

I have already done my timetable for September with this missing and it written on that we will be having free flow indoors and out - they don't need a mad 20minutes charging around on the big playground.

 

I am starting my promotion as FS Co-ordinator in September (although the rest of the staff aren't being told - another thread I need to ask people's opinions on please) and there will be 2 reception classes which I am working out at the moment. I have found that playtimes and assemblies take out too much time in the day that aren't necesary. So my plan will be to scrap them - I have a meeting tomorrow with the other teachers I'm working with to 'discuss' my ideas - am not allowed to say 'I would like us to ...' :o

 

Mad 20 minutes is right!

 

I'm going to stick with assemblies but also ditch snack time and have a free flow snack table. Anybody else who thinks the big running around aspect of playtime is really important? This forum's so great - I feel like I don't have to make decisions alone but can run them past the experts first!

 

What's the thing about the rest of the staff not being told about you becoming FS coordinator? Tell us more...

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its really nice because the children can climb and run. Its nice to watch them as well because there are no other resources out there so you can see their imaginations.

 

This is the thing that makes me a bit torn...

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Hi

We dropped our afternoon playtime this year but still have a morning one, this was partly due to not being able to fit everything in and hopefully having more outdoor play. The afternoon's have gone well as the children have access to a range of activities now and we can fit more in and not feel so rushed. We also dropped going to a lot of assemblies - and still miss the whole school one but now go to the rest - one is a celebration certificate and the other is PPA time for staff so they do go to that! I too was wondering about dropping the morning play as next year we will have free access to outdoor play - so keen to hear what others do - not sure some of our staff are keen on that though :o Think the thought of a break with no one to chat to puts them off xD

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I'd personally love to do this when I see how much space it would free up on the timetable, and could imagine the benefits of the children being allowed to continue their play if engrossed in it, but as we are a very small school, with a big emphasis on the school "family", it is felt that the children need to see the older children at playtime. It would also mean the KS2 staff taking on extra break time duties, which might cause some problems, as I wouldn't be taking my turn on that rota if I was with the reception children all the time. It's really frustrating. Being a church school, they have to go in to assembly too, of course, but I wish I could do a separate, shorter class assembly instead. My Y1/2s will need to go out, of course, but I'm thinking of suggesting I keep the group of reception children at afternoon break and let their play continue - we also have ready access to the outdoor area from the classroom (all my duties are in the morning, so I wouldn't be putting on anyone else then). I'll be watching this thread with interest to hear what others think.

 

That said, by Christmas I might be glad of the chance to send them all out at playtime! :o

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We stopped playtime at my last school. The children didnt miss it!

 

But it did cause a lot of problems with staff. The Reception staff wanted a break and although we had a rota to ensure breaks took place, it did mean that some Reception staff had their breaks at different times to the main school and they didnt like that. As coordinator I found that I was often being consulted on management or whole school issues too which although I was working, kept me out of the classroom and caused resentment as others perceived I was having an extended break.

 

In my current school, a much smaller setting and more of the family ethos that Tracy describes, the children do go out to play with the main school and I think it would be frowned upon for them not to although when settling it is more flexible.

I find I use the time for preparation.

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It would also mean the KS2 staff taking on extra break time duties, which might cause some problems, as I wouldn't be taking my turn on that rota if I was with the reception children all the time.

 

I thought that my TA and I would take turns having a break and that we'd still both go on the playground rota with everyone else, leaving the other one with the reception children while it was the rest of the school's playtime. This wa xD y nobody will feel I'm ducking out of playground duty! :o

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I am also leading Reception and I am still an NQT, the other staff ( 2 teachers - job share and two TA's) weren't told to begin with and I felt a little embarrassed to be honest being not only new but an NQT to boot. However it seems to be working well and as I am there fulltime I think it makes sense.

 

I have suggested lots of changes to bring in the practise into line with EYFS principles and also based on a fairly negative previos OFSTED and they have all been supportive to these changes.

 

One of these was to stop having playtimes as we have adopted a freeflow curriculum all day. This wasn't universally popular to begin with but they have seen the positive aspects for the children and now are fully behind it. The one downside is the staff don't end up getting a regular break, we do all have snacktime together and endeavour to take it in turns to sit with the children whilst the other reminds the staff in the staff room what we look like. However as you are all too aware this is a rarity rather than the norm. It is actually something I want to encourage / ensure happens next year.

 

I have to see when we reflected upon the play and well being of the children since adopting the free flow it far outweighs any issues.

 

At Lunchtime the children can stay in our playground or go into the big playground with the rest of the school which gives them the opportunity to see their brothers and sisters and access the other playground equipment.

 

Sharon

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Hi All - I am probably going to open a can of worms here and have loads of replies telling me I am daft but, my question is

 

"why do staff need a break to spend time in the staff room" - during lunch time is surely the time staff get together" I know everyone gets in at the crack of dawn, but if you get a coffe say before the kids come in at 9 and lunch is 12 it is only 3 hours !!

 

In a previous life when working the NHS wards cold slurp of something wet was on offer, until I had my 20 min lunch break :o

 

Am I being really horrible here, hope not up-set anyone xD Dot

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i think that if you have too much to drink it only makes you need the toilet, more time off!!!!!!!!!!! no seriously when i took over last easter the staff were on 3 cups of hot drink in a 3 hour session can you believe that :o , i limited the staff to 1 drink if it fitted in with the session and 9 times out of 10 we now don't get one untill lunch time, it took them a while to get used to it but it's like anything when you change something people find it hard to accept or understand but sometimes somebody needs to make a stand and remind staff why they are there, if they want to socialise they may need to re think their job role! (believe me i love a good chat with anybody but time and place is so important) xD

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Loved your comments re needing the toilet debatwrittle xD

 

Anyway adults drinking water act as good role models for children in their care - so adults will have time to de-tox from all that coffee !!!!! Dot :o

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We just launched into 'no breaks' without any discussion and while it does suit the children and is def. benificial i find it difficult to appreciate why other staff on the same contracts have breaks and we don't. The head simply says we are not entitled to a break. Following single status we find it very difficult to see how some have breaks and others don't, befor single status and the changes to our contracts we happily worked through breaks and lunchtimes when things needed to be done however now we downtool at lunchtime and i'm not sure this helps the children.

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I ditched playtimes about 3 years ago as it interrupts the children... for what.... play.... why when they are already playing.

They go out with the year 1/2 children at lunchtimes.

 

We have to go to assembly Cof E school... but not until after first half term.

Snack.... we have a rolling snack.... snack out for an hour... help yourself.

Free flow to outdoor area apart from carpet time and Ta lunch time, as not enough adults but theat is when we do an afternoon input.

 

L

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We have to go to assembly Cof E school... but not until after first half term.

 

 

L

 

This could be the answer for me, Lorna. I feel a "Can I have a quick word?" conversation with the head coming on!

 

Tracylu :o

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Guest heleng

I feel reassured reading all of this as this is my plan for September too.

 

I teach in Reception with our nursery sharing the same space and I have just run the idea past our head of the Reception children not joining the rest of the school for morning play. The idea behind it was why do they need it when they have free flow outside, can join the rest of the school at lunch time and it interupts their play. This wasn't a problem but she did say we still have to go out 1 morning a week, along with the nursery and this will be my play ground duty too.

 

Can't happen until September though as my current class would complain too much (as they have been having it since the begining of the year :o )

 

I also asked about not attending assembly every day and was told it is statutory for children of school age to attend daily collective worship.

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They aren't school age until the term after their fifth birthday which means none of your class will be school age until January even then they do not have to attend a whole school assembly it can be an act of collective worship in the classroom ( a story, saying a prayer and singing a song)

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Can I presume from the previous threads that people get a lunchbreak???? The only time I actually get into the staff room is at the end of the day to put my cup of cold tea in the dishwasher!

 

The reason I mentioned the need to ensure we get breaks and into the staff room is because I think it is also important to spend time with other colleagues from throughout the school. Other tham staff meetings. for those who manage it I applaud you.

However I also think it is unlikely to happen too often! I tend to eat lunch on the run so I can get home before 6.

 

Despite this I do think the free flow is better for me, because the children are so much more confident, they are quite happy to do an activity with me for example because they know they can return to whatever they were doing for a long period of time. Indeed the following day if they wish too.

 

Sharon

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HI

 

A good discussion - but hard to get the definite answer

 

This is something we are considering for 3 days a week. We have an assembly one morning on the same day we have P.E so it would not be possible. I must say we are a 2 form entry school - with a shared outdoor area. Also one day when we go to ICT we will probably still go out.

 

I agree with a lot of the posters that it would save up a lot of time - with phonics etc and allow longer continuous provision times. However the breaks for staff are also an issue and if the TA's are going out for their break at the same time then you are left with 2 teachers in class, so would you actually be getting much done - AI, or obs - to make it worthwhile working the 15 minutes.

 

I would like to try it as I am sure it will gain loads of time - esp as play is 15 minutes, then with the tidy up before and coming in after, toilets, arguments.

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Hi all,

 

although not teaching (yet!!) I am a big believer of free flow play and also don't see the point of interrupting the children's play to have break time with the rest of the school when they are in reception,,,, also just completed my dissertation on the transition to school and break times are known to be a worrying time for school starters (and their parents),,, therefore my view is that break times are really notneeded (if the children are encouraged to use outdoors throughout the day that is), especially not in the first term when they are still getting used to their surroundings and have enough to cope with at lunch times!! :o

 

Essc

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HI

 

A good discussion - but hard to get the definite answer

T

 

I agree with a lot of the posters that it would save up a lot of time - with phonics etc and allow longer continuous provision times. However the breaks for staff are also an issue and if the TA's are going out for their break at the same time then you are left with 2 teachers in class, so would you actually be getting much done - AI, or obs - to make it worthwhile working the 15 minutes.

 

TAs aren't technically entitled to a break but it could be an issue for some. Legally no one is entitled to a break until they have worked for a full 4 hours. Our NNs don't get a break other than lunch time.

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Here's a thought - ratios for EYFS children while at "playtime" or school break as I like to call it as they are usually playing already. Can chucking them out in a playground with the whole of KS1 be within the ratio guidelines?? You would have to have 1 adult minimum just for the reception wouldn't you? Or am I just being stupid here.

Cx

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