Essentials: Transforming Lunchtime Playground Behaviour with Therese Hoyle

Essentials: Transforming Lunchtime Playground Behaviour with Therese Hoyle

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Are you looking for ways to improve student behaviour at lunchtimes and develop their social and emotional skills in a way that is immediate and effective?

In this Essentials Episode of School Behaviour Secrets we join Therese Hoyle, one of the UK's leading trainers on improving playtime and lunchtime behaviour, to explore strategies that can revolutionise your playground experience and empower lunchtime supervisors.

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Show notes / transcription

Simon Currigan  0:00  

Are you looking for ways to improve student behaviour at lunchtime and develop your pupil social and emotional skills in a way that's immediate and effective? While School Behavior Secrets is back with the solutions you need to do just that. Keep listening. Welcome to the School Behaviour Secrets podcast. I'm your host, Simon Currigan. My co host is Emma Shackleton. And we're obsessed with helping teachers, school leaders, parents, and of course, students. When classroom behaviour gets in the way of success. We're going to share the tried and tested secrets to classroom management, behavioraul special needs power school strategy, and more all with the aim of helping your students reach their true potential. Plus, we'll be letting you eavesdrop on our conversations with thought leaders from around the world. So you'll get to hear the latest evidence based strategies before anyone else. This is the School Behaviour Secrets podcast. Hi there, Simon Currigan here and welcome to the lunchbox of delight. That is a another essentials episode of School Behaviour Secrets. Today we're going to share with you some key strategies from an earlier episode that you can use to have an immediate impact on the students that you work with in your school. But before we press play on the podcast, I'd like to remind you that if you're enjoying the episode today, please remember to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss another episode. And we begin today's episode midway through a discussion my co host Emma Shackleton and I had with Therese Hoyle. Therese is one of the UK's leading trainers on improving playtime and lunchtime behaviour. In this section of the interview, we explore essential strategies that schools can implement to manage lunchtimes successfully.

Therese Hoyle  1:42  

I suggest you know, having a quiet area suggests something called craze of the week so they have one activity a week, and the moment and actually supervisor saying to me on what's really interesting, all our classes have got equipment, they've got playback, but it's really interesting, because sometimes it's hard. Yeah, but any left. And sometimes systems still got a lot to do with how they looked after up the equipment. And there's really when we could put lots of equipment out in the playground, I usually find that gets lost, stolen or broken, it doesn't last. And it is about thinking about teaching children how to use that equipment. But I always suggest one piece of equipment if you can, that being a crazy week, because children get bored, you know, crazy or something fun, it lasts for a short period of time. But if we put everything out, it's just the same every week. So we need play equipment, we rotate, and we change. And we have different equipment on different weeks. So it's making play fun for everybody. I had a school messaged me on social media this week, they were just saying, Oh, we've just given our children, Pikes wooden blocks, wheels, and they've been making an obstacle course. And they've cooperated. They've problem solved. They've worked together as a team. They've worked out how to stop something wobbling, you know, just so gorgeous. When you just see children using all those incredible skills that are life skills, and science are working with a school, they got a pond and we're talking about, well, how can we get somebody outside at lunchtime? You know, lets gets a magnifying glass and children are fascinated with the pond. Let's get them out by the pond. Let's get some nets, that schools have so many resources. And I live in the school and they got a forest school area. But there is no forest school teacher, I just thought gosh it's an amazing area for children to explore in this area is quite safe. Well, obviously we have to do risk benefit kind of assessment. But actually, you know, how can we make that a place that children want to go and I said to this child, do you ever go in here. And it was just next to the reception playground was a key stage one playground. Do you ever go in there, because that looks a bit scary. The way he looked at me so it looks a bit scary. So I think for some children, they actually haven't had access to those areas where, you know, they can explore within wildlife in that little wooded area leaves and twigs and build it no and pretend bonfire, whatever it is make dense. There's so much opportunity in a playground. So it's going into the playground and valuating you know how it is are and looking at the children? Yeah. Are they playing? Well? Are they having fun? Or are they looking a bit bored, and really doing an audit around the playground. And then in the afternoon, I work with lunchtime supervisors, it's about getting them to value the skills that they have. A lot of them don't know that they've got this wealth of skills that they bring to the team. So I do something called Creating identity kit where they think about all the skills that they have. And then I also look at respect for them. So many lunchtime supervisors say children say to them, I don't have to do what you tell me because you're just a lunchtime supervisor. So I work with them. And I always have members of the leadership team in that meeting, because they need to hear the same message that lunchtime supervisors are hearing and be supported. And I always say, you know, we need to think about how we are supporting our lunchtime supervisors but also how we're that message that parents are hearing, you know, where's that message coming from in terms of lunchtime. So if I suggest lunchtime supervisors, often it is from home, they're part of the community, parents don't respect them. So I get us to think about, well, how can we build respect, put them in the newsletter, put photos of them playing with the children, and look at things like you know, when we come into schools, often the receptionist or is there's photos of everybody, that sometimes there aren't photos of lunchtime supervisors. And I always before I go work with the school, I'd put the website on lunchtime supervisors on the website. Early this week, I looked at their website, every member of staff was on there. But there was a section for lunchtime supervisors, pictures hadn't been uploaded, and we are human, we make mistakes, we don't get things wrong always in schools and things get forgotten. But actually, we can't afford to forget our lunchtime supervisors, because it's the subliminal messages that they're getting. And it's really, really important that they feel an equal member of a team. So training for them and regular training. It's not just me coming in once it is actually breaking meetings with somebody who supports them. And also this school that I went with this week was actually amazing. We've got a the school business manager was now she was really supporting them was a new world for her. But she was really supporting them in their role. And she was part of the day I ran to all day she was with me. And she just started performance management for lunchtime supervisors, they've never been Performance Manager, but they're a member of the school team. They want to improve their skills. So that's have supportive supervision for them supportive line management for them. And then after that, I then go into action planning with the senior leaders. And then we have a follow up date, as well, where we do more game playing, I teach the key leaders. And then at the end of training with a school, I do training with a whole school. So all of us have a staff meeting where everybody's part of the cause actually play lunchtime used to be a whole school way. It's just not an add on. It is a whole school way of being. So it's really important for everybody to be part of that. 

Simon Currigan  6:58  

What would you say is the one core thing that the best schools do, who manage lunchtime successfully that's different to everyone else?

Therese Hoyle  7:08  

That everbody is doing it. And it's consistent, that the message is consistent throughout that the assembly at the beginning of the year, and all lunchtime supervisors are invited to and then just rules are discussed. And that lunchtime supervisors are included that they're important that they're trained, and that teachers and lunchtime supervisors work together, they have similar behaviour management systems, and that play and lunchtimes is part of a school development plan. Improvement Plans for the schools that are successful are working, everybody's working together to make lunch times a successful time, and that they know that the impact of if lunchtimes don't work, then we lose good teaching learning time.

Simon Currigan  7:46  

If you're a teacher, or a school leader, listening to this podcast, what's the first step you can take to start improving lunchtimes in your school? 

Therese Hoyle  7:55  

First of all, think about that 20% of the school day was being really important, and valuing it. And the first things to really think about are how, when was the last time your lunchtime supervisor had any training, really important to start valuing them and making sure that they're properly trained? And thinking about those baseline things that are important, like your value system? Is it outside? Are children familiar with that? Are the rules outside that you've got inside of the is it the same inside or outside? Do you have a behaviour management system that's similar from inside to outside and do lunchtime supervisors know what that is, as well? And is there equal access to play opportunities for everybody? Is there something for every child in the school to do if you've got a quiet child? Is there a quiet area where they can sit and read a book, I remember when we lived in New Zealand for six years, and I remember some days working with saying to New Zealand's very supportive and she said to me, Oh, my child is not supporting who does not want to go and play cricket or football, which is what they mostly can do a play time. She said he just wants to sit quietly with a book. And I think the importance of that is that child wants to feel it. That's okay. That's a skill that he has not to feel like he's different and odd and strange to read a book but actually that, you know, that tells a good reader. He wants to sit with a book and enjoy that over lunch times and be quiet and that's okay. So I think we need to look at the diversity inclusion of all children at lunchtime too.

Simon Currigan  9:25  

And that was just part of our interview with Therese Hoyle, where we considered how to develop constructive play and teach children the necessary skills to reduce playground disagreements leading to our harmonious lunchtime both for the kids and for the adults. If you want to hear the whole interview, and I completely recommend that you do. Open up your podcast app, look at the episode description. We'll put a direct link back to the original episode. That's episode number 38. All you got to do is tap right through. I'll also add a link to Therese's website, where you can find out all about her resources books and training if you found today's podcast helpful, please take a moment to rate and review us It takes just 30 seconds. And when you do it prompts the algorithm to recommend School Behaviour Secrets to other listeners. And that helps us grow the podcast and get this information out to other teachers, school leaders and parents who need it. Thanks for listening today, and I look forward to seeing you next time on School Behaviour Secrets.

(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)