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  • Quiet play areas at school

    I’m an LSO (Learning Support Officer) in a primary school.

    For a few years now I’ve been suggesting to our leadership team that we need a designated quiet play area over lunchtimes. We have so many kids that just don’t thrive outside all the time. Some need a break from the noise, we have kids who love to draw or read or do lego.

    If you work in a education setting, or your child attends a school with something similar, how is it run? Is it everyday? What are kids allowed to do? Who supervises (I think it hasn’t taken off at my school as it will require extra supervision duties and everyone is already stretched covering outdoor play areas)? What area is it held in?

    Ideally I’d like to see it run at least 3x per week. I’d like to make sure there is no technology. I think it’d probably rely on some staff volunteering to do an extra duty.

    Just curious to know if it is working elsewhere.

  • #2
    Our school has what they call passive play, and it's every day as far as I'm aware. It's a quiet area for kids to read or do other quiet activities, far away from the main playgrounds.

    I know my dd especially loved it when she was being bullied because it was a safer space where the supervising teacher had a better view of everyone in that area.

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    • #3
      At my kids school they sometimes (my daughter can’t tell me exactly how often) open the library at lunchtime and have colouring in or lego in there.
      She says the librarian usually supervises it.
      She sometimes goes if she has a falling out with her friends, or wants to hang out on her own, so I think it is a great alternative.

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      • #4
        My daughter goes to the library. They have drawing etc. Sometimes it's themed like Chinese New year they had events.

        It's open to them 4 days a week. No clue who runs it though.

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        • #5
          Thanks for your replies. I hadn’t thought of kids who were being bullied (touch wood as we don’t have a lot of bullying issues) or kids who had a falling out with friends as another group who might benefit. That’s handy to add to my list of reasons why we need it.

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          • #6
            Our school has beanbags and a book rack set up on the verandah outside the library at lunch and recess. I think the supervision is covered by the on duty teacher in that area.

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            • #7
              Our school has lunchtime clubs that have a lot of 'quiet' activities. Lego club, chess club etc. They can go to the library. The Inclusive Education class is open (for quiet play of puzzles, cars etc).

              Eta. The school is small for the area and only has 350ish kids. It is also primary.

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              • #8
                Our library is open at recess and lunch and there is always a teacher on duty. We also have cushions and books set up on one side of the courtyard.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the further replies. I think the library would be a good idea but our librarian is a bit of a grump so she’d likely complain that her books were put back in the wrong spots! We’ve got plenty of classrooms though so I’m sure we could find one that works.

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                  • #10
                    Our school have clubs too at lunch. LEGO , eco, gardening , Pokémon club. Also the library.

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                    • #11
                      Our school has a 'chill out' space that is staffed each lunch time by Education Support Officers. Kids can do quiet games, colouring, etc. There's lots of sensory tools there too.

                      They also do a number of lunch time clubs.

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                      • #12
                        The school my kids go to has just landed a grant for an outdoor sensory scape they have promoted as being a writer place to go and relax outside, but I'm not sure what that is or will look like.

                        They open the library some days.

                        The student well-being officers office is huge and a safe space with dimmed lighting, some Ikea tents, lego, playdoh, soft toys, sensory toys and quiet music.

                        During winter they open up a classroom with boardgames/card games/drawing/lego etc, and last year there was a dedicated room with a special name, that was overseen by a teacher even during class times for small groups or if someone really needs space.

                        Is a small primary school. Less than 200.

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                        • #13
                          Our school has an area, I think the kids call it the positive play room and it’s in a portable they use for specialist subjects (ie auslan) and is supervised by one of the aides. Often colouring club seems to be run as part of it and my girls enjoy going in and doing that, I know my older girl has also been when she has had friend/bullying issues too. The school is very ahead of the ball for their EQ focus and is only around 350 kids.

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                          • #14
                            I thought I would update.

                            Last Monday I started passive play 3 lunchtimes per week at school. The Deputy Principal was all for introducing it and happy to reassign my 3 sick bay duties so that I could run passive play. Other staff members are popping in and out so often its not just me there.

                            There were 12 kids Monday, 18 Tuesday and 22 on Thursday. It's not been advertised to the kids, rather teachers are noticing who might need it and letting them know its available. Some kids are wanting to be on technology but that's a big no. We've got lego, colouring, boardgames and reading. Some kids (read Gr 6 girls) are just chatting amongst themselves.

                            Unfortunately now with Covid who knows when we will be back to school, but I suspect that passive play will be a little busier with kids who are struggling to return to school and need some down time during break time.

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