Friday 28 July 2017

Making The Transition To Secondary Years Play.

In September, my not so little man will be starting secondary school, to say time has flew past would be an understatement. Let me reassure you, when other parents tell first time parents time will fly now you're a parent, they aren't lying, nor are they exaggerating one tiny little bit. It only seems like last month when I was taking photo's of Spud's first day at nursery, it only seems like last week I took photo's of him wearing his school uniform on his first day of reception, it seems like yesterday when he started year six, and now I am planning to buy his secondary school attire.

Image Credit.

With secondary school comes a whole different life, gone is the days of being sent to the head teacher if you're in trouble, in are the days of being given a detention for bad behaviour, missed homework or even being late to school, gone are the days when homework meant 30 minutes taken out of the whole week, because instead, you'll find more than likely you'll spend at least 30 minutes a day taking time out for homework - and for me this is going to be a pain as I've never been quiet about my loathe of homework, home time should be just that - home time, not home time for extra school work! 

Breaktime and lunchtime at secondary school is also a different world away to the world our children once knew at primary school, whilst infant and junior schools have lots of playground equipment children can get lost in, secondary school has little or no secondary years play equipment at all, something else I don't agree with. Break times should be a time that children - no matter what their age should be able to have fun in, break time is 15-20 minutes (usually) long short, it's not a huge amount of time, but its enough to give children the break they need.

Lunch time is longer, but take out the time when children would eat and again you're left with around 15-20 minutes at the most, it's not the best, but it's enough to give children the stimulation and focus they need for the rest of the school day. Whilst stimulation and focus can come from a number of things, I'm one of those parents who think children should have a variety, and just because they're a few years older why shouldn't they have climbing equipment and multi-skill zones? A football and basketball court is all well and good for children who like participating in such activities, but what about those who don't? Should they just wander around the ''play'' ground during break and lunchtime? 

I'm not to sure why some secondary schools call their grounds playgrounds, it's not as though the children have equipment in place for them to play, of course they can use their imagination but we're talking about children that are 11 years plus, whilst the first years could most probably just about get away with it, one can assume the senior students will avoid such because of the reputation they feel they need to hold.

I'm one of those parents who push for children to be children for as long as possible, I don't want my child knowing too much about the adult world, I want him to be able to play and be a child for as long as possible, I participated and encouraged early years play, primary years play and I will encourage secondary years play too, I will campaign and talk to schools about the importance of outdoor play equipment, indoor and outdoor activities and SEN play and equipment. It's important that schools know and understand that all children progress at different paces, and what works for one child doesn't necessarily work for the whole school or year group.

I'm fortunate enough that Spud's secondary school he'll be starting in September knows the importance of stimulation and break times - be it breaktime or lunch time, the children are encouraged to experience outdoor play and activities whether depending. I'm not to sure what their SENCO teacher or department do just yet, but I know soon enough I'll have an understanding of what goes on and what is available for SEN children!

Of course, us parents can do our bit to help too, just because our children are starting secondary school, it doesn't mean the trampoline and wooden climbing frames in our back gardens should be dismantled, let them stay and remain for as long as your child wants them for - of course just be sure that the items in question are age suitable as injuries are never welcome! Carry on taking your children to local parks, encourage them to play and be free because the important thing to remember is these 11/12 year olds are still our children, they're not adults - they're young people until they reach adult ages.

Until next time,


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