We managed to get the children out for a lovely playtime this morning. It was far too icy yesterday to be safe outside – even if staff and children were only walking – but it was just about manageable today. We held a short assembly with the children to make sure they knew what the expectations were to be safe, organised lots of extra staff to supervise and split the playground into zones so the different groups of children had ‘fresh’ snow to play in when they went out.
The children were given the option of not playing in the snow first and a sizeable group chose to stay inside and play some wet play games instead.
With the children who wanted to go out we explained the following rules so that they could enjoy themselves and be safe:
- Coats to be zipped up (a surprising number of children don’t do this without reminding!)
- Absolutely no running (we explained that this is because there are icy patches hidden under the snow and this makes this a hazard to avoid rather than a risk they can manage).
- Snowballs only on the torso and only if the person you are throwing them at is OK with you doing this. Some children really don’t like the snowballs and we also had part of the playground to play in where no snowballs were allowed. However, nearly all the children did do snowballing and had a great time and blasted many teachers. I tried to explain it was inappropriate for them to hit their headteacher with the snowballs but completely failed!
- No sledging. We were able to do this on Wednesday but the speed reached sliding down our hill became too fierce. This was confirmed after school yesterday when several teachers tested out some home-made sledges on the hill and are now covered in bruises. Thanks to their selfless sacrifice we knew that sledging today would not be safe for the children. The children did lots of sliding down the hill though and had a brilliant time making sledges out of themselves.
The children responded absolutely brilliantly to these expectations and behaved exceptionally well while having a great time in the snow.
When making the decision about whether it is safe or not to play in the snow we do our best to let children play in and experience the best of the snow. The last time it snowed heavily during term time was in 2013. For lots of children that is such a long time ago that this week’s snow feels like a once-in-a-lifetime-so-far experience. So it’s important to give them the opportunity to enjoy it and I think a lot of the memories of playing in the snow they will have from Wednesday and today will be with them forever. We’re delighted to have played our part in that. It was lots and lots of work but worth it!