Wednesday 13 June 2012

Indoor or Wet Breaks - A Dangerous Idea?

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Kierna C said...

Great post Juliet & loads of great discussion points for schools. Will share this with my primary colleagues. The biggest issue at the moment for us is that there is no coherent policy among the supervisory staff re:risk assessment & the lone 'sensible' person gets shouted down by the nay sayers.

Juliet Robertson said...

I suspect this situation is common place.

Did you see the HSE blog post about risk and outdoor play that came out last week - more good food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Great post Juliet.

By far the most disappointing part of the new English revised EYFS is the includsion of the phrase 'unsafe weather'. At a seminar led by one of the authors of Development Matters the week before the EYFS was published, we were assured that the voices of the EY sector had been heard and the phrase would be changed to 'inappropriate' or 'severe' or somesuch. For some practitioners, 'unsafe' would mean snowy (cf your pic of thte child on the ground in the snow) and others won't let children out in bright sunshine (never mind about the Vit D). Why ask experts for their learned, seriously considered and robustly argued opinions if you plan to ignore them in the final edit?

I agree, Prmary schools really do need to address this issue of wet playtimes, but it feels to me like the relentless campaigning work of many of us in England is being hampered by risk averse civil servants who shy away from controversial or bold statements no matter how hard we try to convince them otherwise and no matter how strong the evidence is that change is needed.

I'm afraid I tend to come back to my oft repeated mantra, "one less whiteboard, 30 more wet weather outfits / one more giant sandpit / five more hardwearing, high quality picnic tables / a decent dipping platform and bird hide by your pond / insert your own outdoor learning essential here*"

* delete as applicable

Juliet Robertson said...

Hello Julie

I agree - it is very frustrating when unhelpful wording is used in national documents. On the upside you might enjoy this blog post which won an Edubloggers Award in 2010 for being the most influential blog post...

landartista said...

Great Post! This is a question parents and care givers (including teachers) struggle with at all levels and in many settings. I think at the root we need to be able to trust caregivers to make an educated decision based out of the child's well being, not the need for a break or staffing concerns. It is the parent that deals with the sickness or injury caused by 'dangerous weather' play. I would be interested to see you rick assessment form.


Juliet Robertson said...

Hello Michelle

I think you are so right - And for me, it's so easy to look back and think how differently I would do quite a few things now - the benefit of hindsight and time out of the job (no I don't see myself doing a HT role again).

So my risk assessment is now almost 8 years old and an antiquity! I was amazed I still had it tucked away. If you are really keen to see such an outdated document that's not very well done, please email me... :)

Interestingly I think everyone feels badly when a child gets hurt - but again, what's the child's take on the matter? Often they are really sensible about getting hurt and accept the consequences of their actions too.

Best wishes

Males in Early Childhood said...

A wonderful post Juliet with some excellent points including the fact that we need to always consider what the children want. They are at the forefront of this debate/argument/discussion yet very rarely get a say.

I thank you for referencing me so that it comes full circle. Opposite sides of the globe fighting for the same thing. Hmmmm, makes you think, doesn't it?

Juliet Robertson said...

Thanks Greg - I think the commonality of issues is quite surprising!