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The Lunchtime Training Programme - for Midday Supervisors

“I have been totally inspired by this training. I enjoy and look forward to every session and have been keen to test out my learning with the children. Lunchtime will never be the same again!”

 (Hayley Large, Lunchtime Supervisor – Highgate Primary School)

These training sessions are designed to dramatically improve outcomes for children during lunchtime and throughout the school day. They focus on providing positive, creative play opportunities linked to the latest research in child development and neuroscience. The programme consists of 4 training sessions for Lunchtime Staff that introduce low cost, low resource methods to profoundly improve play at lunchtime. The decline of play at home has meant that play in school lunchtimes has become increasingly crucial for children’s mental health and well-being. Play deprivation symptoms such as aggression, poor social skills and anxiety are becoming more common and as play is one of the key criteria for healthy brain development it is vital that children are given time, space and resources to do so.

Benefits to children of improved play at lunchtime

Cognitive developmental benefits

Improved self esteem and resilience

Improved problem solving and creativity

Increased levels of physical activity even in children

not predisposed towards sport

Combating play deprivation symptoms

(aggression, anxiety, poor social skills)

Combating obesity and sedentary behaviour cycles

Improved behaviour

Enhanced academic learning in afternoon lessons

Less incidents and accidents

There are 4 sessions each between 2 and 3 hours in duration. Schools can purchase any of the sessions individually but it is recommended that session 1 is delivered first as this underpins all the subsequent sessions.

Session 1 – The vital role of the Midday Supervisor and How Positive Play changes children’s lives

This session details the increasing importance of play at lunchtimes and how positive play can underpin a broad range of development in children and support their emotional well-being for the whole school day. The training highlights the role of Midday Supervisors in supporting play and gives a series of strategies for improving lunchtimes. Staff teams increase in confidence and recognise the value of their role within the school. The training also introduces inclusive practical activities to use at lunchtimes with children. The session is informal and very easy to access for even the least confident lunchtime supervisors but gives a solid grounding in play with a knowledge equivalent of a level 3 qualification.

Session 2 – Positive Children - Positive Behaviour

In this session we look at the profound impact adult behaviour has on children’s behaviour and how positive adults can affect every aspect of a child’s emotional well-being. We discuss the behaviour midday supervisors should be exhibiting to support our children to have positive lunchtimes. We then look at approaches to maintaining and supporting positive behaviour through a series of methods and strategies uniquely suited to the lunchtime environment. The course also gives solid approaches to dealing with negative behaviour without risking emotional damage to a child. Staff will gain confidence to support positive behaviour and effectively challenge negative behaviour whilst questioning and understanding how their own behaviour impacts on children at lunchtime. The session also looks at how we can support children to overcome school anxiety.

Session 3 – Making Play more Exciting

Overprotecting children has now been included in definitions of Emotional Abuse on Safeguarding training and is recognised by the HSE as damaging children’s development. This practical session looks at what we can do in the lunchtime environment to avoid overprotecting children and at the same time protect our children from injury. The session discusses how adventurous or exciting play can help children develop physical and emotional resilience and is directly linked to positive mental health and a child’s ability to cope in the real world.  The session then looks at common sense approaches to risk and introduces a dynamic risk assessment procedure for ongoing realistic assessment of danger. The session also looks at the current culture of overtreating insignificant injuries and how we how we can minimise this and still protect ourselves from litigation or parental disapproval. The session also introduces a range of exciting play opportunities for children – all of which are low risk but give children a little bit of their childhood back.

Session 4 – Magical Inclusive Lunchtimes – Imagination, creativity and Divergent Thinking at Lunchtime

This practical session looks at the role of imagination and creativity in the development of children and how we can maximise this unique developmental process at lunchtimes. The session showcases low cost or free resources that can have a dramatic effect on the levels of innovation and creativity at lunchtime and help make lunchtimes a vibrant and exciting time for children. We look at the role of the Midday Supervisor in supporting imaginative play and highlight a series of activities to delight our children. The session also looks at inclusive play and how we make sure disabled children have positive magical lunchtimes with some wonderful inclusive superhero themed games for children. The session finishes with a look at the very real “villains” in a child’s life who go out of their way to make a child feel worthless, scared and anxious. Sometimes children need a hero to step up make them feel special despite their behaviour or attitude. Sometimes all it takes is one midday supervisor to be that hero.