Thank God it's Friday

23rd April 2004 at 01:00
Monday Huff and Puff (our fitness campaign for pupils) starts today. The mealtime assistants have been trained; the staff have watched the video; the free play equipment has arrived. Tom, our caretaker, has relinquished his shed, and two dedicated teaching assistants have marked all the balls and hoops ready for distribution. The children have paid for their key fobs (they need to exchange them for Huff and Puff equipment) and Jamie from the Plymouth Raiders basketball team has declared the shed well and truly open.

Tuesday I watch the children playing cat's cradle and bouncing basketballs. At the end of lunchtime, no one has lost anything so everyone has their key fob returned. The teaching assistants are smiling, even the one timetabled to stay in the shed.

Wednesday I take a special assembly on how to queue. This is a life skill, I tell the children. The person in front turns to the one behind and starts a polite conversation about the weather. This then passes down the queue.

Volunteers model the scenario and everyone agrees that waiting in a queue can be a pleasant way to pass the time. The queue at lunchtime is very sociable; I listen to the children discussing whether it is likely to rain.

Thursday Huff and Puff in the infants is not quite so simple. They have a bag of equipment, not a shed with rows of hooks to hang the key fobs on. Year 6 Redcaps struggle to convince the reception class children that you have to have a key fob to play with all the exciting things. Balls fly everywhere and the lost equipment does not match the number of key fobs. We need another shed.

Friday Tom and Denise build the new shed. I must check their job descriptions. Mandy and Sharon have run out of key fobs in the office. They have a new name for Huff and Puff but they won't tell me what it is. The Year 6 seem to like being in the infant shed. Still, I was expecting teething trouble. Optimists always do.

Val Woollven is head of St Andrew's C of E primary school, Plymouth

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