After my ‘hip hip hooray’ tone for last week’s story in my blog, about the implementation of a successful physical activity routine in Sharpness school, I have a contrary feeling about today’s blog. I have just found out that the primary school my youngest attends is taking an opposite turn to that of Sharpness school and forbidding playground activity before registration. Once the school gate is open they have to head straight to their classroom where “the children will have Early Morning Tasks to do.” This bizarre policy will come into effect after the Easter Holidays. I am flabbergasted. I wonder what the ‘tasks’ may be – scrub the floors and clean the windows? This state of affairs is sounding Victorian.
We have been told “It is extremely important that children are ready to learn as soon as they get to school in the morning and that they are able to come into school in a calm and respectful manner.” and that is the only reason given. Presumably then, the thought is that currently the children do not come in to school in a calm and respectful manner, and that that is down to the fact they have been playing in the playground for ten minutes just prior to lining up and coming in to class. This against vast current research findings that physical activity in children positively affects concentration levels and academic performance, and, further, that exercise before school, such as walking or cycling has a beneficial impact on learning. Physical fitness in school children is associated with higher levels of cognitive ability; decreasing available time for physical play is detrimental to their progress in school. Surely we need to get the message across to those that make decisions that cutting potential time and space for physical movement is a potential disaster. We need more activity in schools, not less.
Can you tell I am a bit rattled?!