How can schools ensure playgrounds are a space for interaction and friendship?
Since the beginning of Term 3, St Patrick’s School has been trialing a new way of organising recess and lunchtime to create a positive playground culture.
Assistant principal Lyndal Marshall said the changes were implemented to respond to some bullying and behavioural concerns during breaks from class.
“We were having social issues at recess and lunch time, we made the changes to calm down the playground and give a sense of community across the school,” Ms Marshall said.
As part of the ‘Positive Playground’ program infants and primary school students can now play together in designated ‘community areas’ and students have access to a range of activities like dress ups, quoits, drawing, board games, basketball drills, parachute and tunnel obstacles, toy cars and skipping every lunchtime and recess.
“We made a few more spaces available for the kids so there is active and passive play spaces and community spaces where kindergarten to Year 6 can play together,” Ms Marshall said.
Teachers have reported students are coming back into class calmer than before, she said.
“Teachers have communicated there’s a nice feel out there.”
Year 2 teacher Jen Ticehurst said the program had put a “positive swing on things” for younger students.
“They’re so excited to go and play, sometimes I have to remind them to eat their lunch,” she said.
The playground activities are set up and supervised by a team of Year 6 students who volunteered to be ‘Playground Pioneers’.
The program received good feedback from students when the Lithgow Mercury went to visit.
“It’s really fun and creative,” Alexis Reid said.
“We get to play with our infants friends, and crawl in the tubes and be silly in the parachute,” Jack Brown said.