The difference between playscheme and school…

5 Aug

…should be huge.

Playscheme should have more of the following;

– Positive language. Less ‘NO’ ‘DONT’ ‘CAN’T’ ‘WONT’

– Responsiveness. If a handful of children want to go inside then provided it is logistically possibly this should be facilitated. Also, responsiveness to individual children’s needs and preferences. If there is a child that always likes to play indoor then that is fine.

– Engaging play space. If that means it is messy then so be it

– Reflective practice. If some of the children’s behaviour is unacceptable, think about what it is about the setting which is not engaging them, or that might be triggering the behaviour. What can we as playworkers do ourselves, how can we alter the space and how can we adapt the activities to minimise challenging behaviour?

– Understanding and inclusivity. Being able to facilitate genuinely equal opportunity to participate in play, embracing all of the different ways children might engage.

– FUN! should be right up there at the top of the agenda. The challenge for us as workers is how to minimise the risks in the children’s chosen play activities not to stop this play from happening all together.

– No teachers or anyone that resembles a teacher in the way they relate to the children. Today I was refered to as a teacher way too many times. At one point the children were even asked to call a member of staff Miss.

And there are many other ways.

The following things are things that I would be sad to witness in a school and devastated to witness at a playscheme;

– A near half hour lecture on how to line up in a straight line in silence including practice time (me and several other workers who felt uncomfortable with this then facilitated the children marching out in joke military style).

– An Autistic boy being brought up to stand at the front with all the other children watching, to be told ‘You are always on your own. Who is your friend here?’ …I could literally not believe it. I had to leave the room. He is more than aware that he has trouble making friends and everyday in the playground struggles to join in games, to understand what annoys and upsets others and how he can make friends. The last thing he needs is for someone else to point that out to him… and everyone else.

– Not responding to those very reasonable yet small requests that children make like ‘I spilt my drink, can I have another one?’. That’s not play. I’m sad to say that’s the way it is in school.

This is the children’s summer holiday…HOLIDAY.

That’s my rant for the day.

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