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Creating positivity in the playground

Andy Swain says behaviour management can be implemented in the playground as well as the classroom

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 08, 2016 | Teaching

When it comes to behaviour management, the playground is just as important as the classroom. Learning can be improved through behaviour management that is implemented during playtimes.

Children are affected by things that occur on the playground and this also affects the way they behave in the classroom. This highlights the importance of teachers and lunchtime supervisors to work together to identify specific behaviours and then enforce consequences that will have an effect.

Therefore, it is important to identify which areas of playtime work well and why and also which behaviours occur and whether they are linked to any specific groups or places. Also, the punishment currently in place for dealing with this behaviour should also be recognised and assessed.

Behaviours that cause the most disruptions should be a priority and they can often be identified in areas known as hot spots. These are normally areas that the children are prohibited from playing in and pushing can often take place in tight spaces such as bottlenecks. Each behaviour is likely to have a specific environment.

With the behaviours identified, the consequences have to be considered. Negative behaviour is not acceptable and teachers and lunchtime supervisors should be aware of this, this means that they should enforce the consequences consistently.

If staff come together to discuss the consequences, they should be able to collectively identify the response for certain instances of behaviour. This will make it easier for staff but it will also allow pupils to get through playtimes without any problems.

While certain environments have been identified that encourage certain types of behaviours it is important to find a way in which these environments can be changed or improved in order to encourage positive behaviour.

Negative behaviour has been linked to children playing in an area that has no stimulants and this poor playground design is also linked to depressions.

Understanding what doesn’t work in the playground is part of solving the problem. Aggressive play usually occurs out of site while tension is experienced when seating is located near to an area where ball games may take place. This could mean that improvements should be made to the school grounds such as investing in better play equipment, specific zones for certain activities, teaching new games and even putting older children in charge as play leaders.

Improving the playground is crucial because children will feel like that are thought of and respected. If they believe this then they will look after the school, they could even be involved in designing part of the playground all of which will give them a sense of purpose and belonging.

Every pupil has a different way of learning in the classroom but the same stands for the playground. Some prefer areas of silence and others prefer to be active and although unstructured play is crucial, having teacher or student led games can improve engagements and subsequently behaviours.

As the number of pupils increases in many schools it has led to increased tensions and a staggered playtime could be the answer to this, even a difference of five minutes can have an impact on those areas where negative behaviours are often seen.

Andy Swain is the Managing Director of SAS Shelters.

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