* Make it easier and quicker to get parents in for a chat by printing slips or postcards which simply say: "Please contact . . ." with tick boxes for different staff, ie secretary, head, class teacher followed by "about . . ." It's often better than a detailed letter, which will prepare parents for trouble.
* Fire or emergency evacuation drill is a very real test of children responding to adult staff. Practising the drill using different routes and different times can be a good problem-solving exercise for the children. It also gives them the chance to work on listening and quick response to instructions in less life-threatening situations, for instance, the aim of the next lesson.
* It's worth having the timetable for regular activities displayed clearly for the children to use. It helps them to get a sense of the routines and helps them develop some very important skills in terms of handling reading of a variety of information formats.
* Have you ever added up the time younger children have spent sitting on the floor in a day? If you put together the total of storytime, assembly, registration and other points in the day, the gluteus maximus may be being strained to the point of justified fidgeting.
* Hang the expense! A box of tissues on the desk is worth its weight in phlegm. Not only for concealing the evidence of the cold streaming from nasal Nigel, not only as a comforter for tearful Tara, but occasionally you just need something to hide behind in the classroom.
Jon O'Connor and colleagues at Parkside First School, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.
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