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Is the Cut in Break at School, Affecting our Children’s Wellbeing?

Following the BBC report that school breaks have been cut, Gemma Sanchez argues that while it is important to examine, kids need relationships and structure.

Interesting? In a report published by the BBC on the 10th of May, it’s been noted a dramatic cut in time since 1995, that children have at break, could be having an impact on children’s wellbeing.

So, what do we think here at Grow Your Mindset. Well, I think there are a range of issues that all contribute here. As a former primary teacher, breaktimes could often lead to a crisis in wellbeing.

Of course, time to relax and chill is crucial to any child, but so often children did not know how to. There would be arguments, upset and tears from a large majority of children who really struggled with the ‘unstructured’ situation they had been put in and often these anxieties and upsets would then impact in the classroom after.

Do not get me wrong, breaktimes are crucial for anyone. Adults too. A time to reflect, unwind, recharge, but an accumulation of factors are preventing this from happening.

Maybe it’s because their parents work and don’t have time to experience relaxing situations as a family.

Maybe they had a lesson that they really didn’t understand and are feeling angry with themselves.

Maybe the child has had a c**p morning at home, the dog died, their sister ruined their homework or their wasn’t enough milk for their cereal.

Maybe gaming and technology has stopped children interacting face to face and that breaktime is actually out of their comfort zone.

Maybe they haven’t had the experiences we had as a child, playing outside and finding thing to do, with nothing more than the wind in our face.

Since leaving teaching, I now have time to reflect on my career and the things that happen in our education system. Why are schools shortening break? A number of reasons.

Yes, to cram more ‘learning time’ for the children and yes, to prevent arguments and fights in the playground.

However, with a lot of issues in schools, we need to look at the bigger picture, not just the small graze in the corner, but the wound as a whole and the damage beneath the surface.

What needs to be happening more in schools and in our homes, is building more time into the day to work on building relationships with others, developing imaginative games, immerse them in relaxing activities and de-stressing experiences so that they can fully get the benefit of taking a break. This in turn, leads to better learners, better retention, higher academic achievement, less arguments and fights, more collaboration, less stress and anxiety for everyone!

Schools are under pressure to get ‘quick fix’ results and this isn’t one of those ‘quick fixes’ you can count on, but a well thought out, planned journey, carefully monitored by staff, with parents on board. Not easy, but well worth it.

We won’t solve child wellbeing unless we look at all the common denominators and work together with children to support them, not just 1 or 2.

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The author

Gemma Sanchez, co-owner of Grow Your Mindset, has the passion for and has experienced the impact that developing a Growth Mindset can have on an individual’s belief, attitude and focus towards learning and life. With 15 years primary teaching experience (including 7 years Special Educational Needs Coordinator) she has seen how successful developing a Growth Mindset can be. Her mission is to share her knowledge and experience to empower individuals to think differently and cultivate a passion for learning, no matter what their age or position – making education better! Gemma formed Grow Your Mindset formally in September 2018 and is in the running for 2 prestigious awards this coming June for She Inspires – Women in Education award and the E3 Small business start up award. Sue is on a mission to make parenting easy and has teamed up with Nexus Education to help teacher through her extensive experience. Sue is on a mission to make parenting easy and has teamed up with Nexus Education to help teacher through her extensive experience.

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