How Lunchtime Play Leaders can modify the whole atmosphere of a school

Lunchtimes are notoriously one of the most challenging times of the school day for both active cognitive engagement and behaviour incidents. With statistics showing that children spend less time ‘playing’ outdoors in their free time than the previous generation, young people today are lacking the experiences and knowledge to produce their own games and activities during lunchtimes at school. Cue boredom and minimal physical engagement that can lead to behaviour incidents and potentially modify the atmosphere of the school for the rest of the afternoon.
However, structured play helps to support a variety of key skills whilst ensuring such behaviour incidents are minimal. Focussed activities allow for social integration, the development of physical literacy and works towards the Public Health target of 30 minutes physical activity taking place within the school setting each day.
Yet engaging the whole playground in meaningful activities can be an arduous task if the number of adults available is minimal. So, why not call for the support of Upper Key Stage 2 children to improve engagement levels whilst developing their own leadership and organisational skills?
A key focus for many Evolve Health Mentors within the schools they are deployed is to train and upskill Year 5 and/or 6 students to lead stations of activities for their younger peers. The benefits are threefold with the Play Leaders developing vital key skills that can be used later in life, activity levels increasing amongst the rest of the school and the Health Mentor afforded more time to support various activities rather than just one they may have been leading previously by themselves.
Several schools have already commented that the use of Play Leaders helps to decrease the number of behaviour incidents and develop more confident Upper Key Stage 2 children after training to lead active and inspirational playground activities. With a calmer return to class, the benefits of such an exercise on academic attainment is also undoubtedly going to be positive.
For more information about how an Evolve Health Mentor can support your school in such a critical area of the day, contact Josh Cronin on