Ring the bell on shorter playtimes – author

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A Queenstowner concerned schools worldwide are cutting down on playtimes is pushing her cause with a new book.

Therese Hoyle is having her book, 101 Playground Games, published in her native England in the next two weeks.

Hoyle, who’s studied kids’ behaviour for six years, says a lot of schools, especially in Australia and the United States, “are starting to disband play or going for shorter playtimes for children”.

In England, buildings are popping up on former playing fields. And in New Zealand there are schools cutting down on playtimes because they’re not coping with behaviour like bullying that’s happening in the playground.

“But actually children learn so much in playing and it’s often undervalued.”

She’s tested her ideas in Dunedin and Wellington schools with a programme called Powerfully Positive Playtimes.
“They say it makes a huge difference because if children have a bad playtime then they take all those feelings back into the classroom after lunch and they’re not able to engage in their learning. They may have had an argument with their best friend so their emotions take over.”

Children aren’t playing in the sociable way they used to, Hoyle says.

Her book, aimed at teachers, lunchtime supervisors and parents, draws on traditional games as well as creative new ones.

Hoyle this week returned to England for several months to connect with family and friends, promote her book and write another, called 101 Wet Playground Games.

Her book is only available in NZ via her Success Partnership website, but she’s negotiating with publishers for the NZ and Australian market.

“I’ve even got somebody interested in publishing it in China.”

Hoyle has also been responsible for bringing the English Quality Circle Time positive behaviour management programme to numerous NZ schools.

She’s promoting a four-day lead teacher course in Queenstown in March 2010 to push the programme.