Recess and lunchtime can be scary, lonely, and dreaded times for children who have no one to play with. As someone entering the teaching profession, I have found that lunchtime and recess are often the last things on my mind during the busy day. Upon reflection though, I have come to realise that my duty will not end once the children walk of out the classroom and onto the playground. How soul crushing it would feel as a child to never have anyone to play with – especially since you don’t know why or what to do about it.
I would argue that children who have happy play are happier and more connected in the classroom.
I spoke with a young teacher recently who told me something she does EVERY DAY before recess and lunch, which has almost eliminated this issue in her lower primary classroom. She asks each child: “Who are you playing with today?” And the class does not leave the room until everyone has at least one person to play with. The children might be given a minute to meet in that group to discuss what it is they will play that day.
According to her she has seen lower incidences of bullying within her classroom, and has noticed improvements in classroom cohesion since she began doing this 6 months ago.
I will begin adding this little step into our pre-recess and lunch routine this week and look forward to reflecting on the results!