You know the maxim ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’. School is a place where children learn to socialise and discover as much in the playground as they sometimes get from lessons, especially in the early years.
The problem for schools is that they have a challenging curriculum to get through to prepare children for the tests and exams that will open the doors to their future. The results of a recent survey has revealed that, while school hours have not reduced, break times have.
On average children spend 45-65 minutes less out of lessons than 20 years ago.
When will they have time to learn to play American skipping with elastic wrapped around their friends ankles? When will they get the opportunity to play rounders with kids from other classes, using a tennis ball and their school jumper pulled down over their fists as a ‘bat’, if they barely have time to eat lunch?
Instead of playing a serious game of football in the games lesson, schoolyard football can feature all the top Premier League players and replay big matches, with girls and boys playing together.
What about running off all that energy that kids seem to have boundless amounts of? If they’re still bouncing around in their seats in the classroom, does that make learning easier or harder?
On the other side of the coin
It’s been established that exercise is good for the brain and parents working for employers who have embraced mindfulness and wellbeing, are probably familiar with the 5–minute break every hour or so. This is intended to clear the ‘fog’ and reset their minds.
Logically, this practice is good for kids too, especially as the going gets tough as they approach exams and spend hours cooped up doing revision.
In fact, England Athletics has launched a #RunAndRevise scheme. This is to enhance mental health and encourage students to take a break from the books and get some exercise. It’s aimed at 16-25 year olds, so more for the GCSE and A level students.
How about starting a runabout session for your child and their friends? Maybe you could organise a good old-fashioned game of rounders or a kids park run after school. Obviously there would need to be some safety parameters, but it’s worth exploring.
There’s nothing like a bit of exercise to help the brain be more effective! Would a good run about before homework time make a difference to your kids?