2. Staggered break times
Plenty of schools have chosen to stagger break times to assist with social distancing on the playground and minimise the amount of contact learners have with each other.
To get around timetabling issues, many schools have opted for three short breaks instead of the usual morning tea and long lunch break.
The advantages of staggered break times
There have been two major advantages of staggering the break times.
The first is more space. Having less children on the playground means there is a lot more room for the learners to run around, play and explore.
It’s likely this contributes to the second major benefit. There has been significantly less playground behaviour issues since staggering breaks and many educators will agree that any idea that reduces playground incidents deserves to be taken seriously!
The disadvantages of staggered break times
Nothing is perfect and staggering break times is no exception. Many schools feel it is impacting staff bonding, as teachers are not having breaks at the same time.
Some teachers have also wondered if learners are not being given opportunities to form relationships with children in different year groups.
Staggering break times requires some very savvy timetabling. Playgrounds are being used frequently, so it can be difficult to find areas to use for PE lessons. Plus, there has been a lot of added noise around the classrooms while classes are working.
Reflections: Looking to the future
Deciding whether to continue staggering the breaks requires some careful thought.
It might be valuable to ask learners how they feel about the new break time schedule or to explore the possibility of having one break time staggered, while the other is kept as a whole school break.