Blog Observation Series 2 ep1

Blog Observation Series are fictional pieces of work, and form the journey of a newly qualified Playwork Assessor.

Welcome to T in Series 2

T approaches a boy, he remains standing while looking around the play space. T moves away, and collects a chair which she positions in view of the door entry to the setting, and observes other children’s movements.

A child is moving slowly on carpeted area with soft cushions. T turns her head and observes the child’s interaction with the toy from about two meters distance. The child touches the toy, T continues her observation. T moves slowly towards child, and kneels down onto carpet, T smiles and reaches hand out towards child, no verbal communication. Child H looks at T, and returns a smile and walks towards grandmother. T returns to chair.

Other users arrive and position themselves on the ground on soft padded area with large cushions and rattlers, a child is being fed by mother while she talks with three workers. A baby has remained stationary for a period, I notice that T has positioned herself to retain eye to eye with child, and has brought herself down to his level, child able to pull himself up. T offers child mirror, and has positioned it for child to view themselves. T also moves and rolls sensory bell towards child. Three more children arrive accompanied by a female adult. T removes her shoes and stands on carpet area.

H’s mother approaches T, she says that “H had his speech therapy this morning”. T enters dialogue with mother about H’s therapy progress. There are now 8 children present.

A mother is talking about her son with a staff member. She say’s “A cannot start school until he is 5 years old”. A sits on a table in front of me in a school uniform.  I ask T whether A attends the setting regularly, T says that A is 4 years old and has an older brother, possibly the uniform belongs to him. T and staff welcome all the children and female adults by their first names.

Another child D’  in a buggy arrives to setting. T is looking towards child and makes eye contact. T is retaining contact, she then walks towards child and places her hands on her cheeks and moves them in an outward motion. D looks at T, T is repeating previous action. D is laughing. T repeats action for a third time, and then performs a small star jump. D laughs out aloud, his legs and arms are now moving in various directions. I ask T about the visual interaction with D, and his response. T tells me that D has a hearing impairment, and that his response was due to him being familiar with her face.


I need space

B’s Playwork Assessor had joined us to carry out the pick up for today’s after school club session, and make some observations. We collected the infants and engaged in some light humour with the children before waiting for the juniors on the climbing structure in their playground.

A few of the children and been exploring various play opportunities on structure when M came over to join us. He began with a verbal tirade of abuse directed at N, and attempted to drag him off the climbing structure and swung  his feet in N’s direction. It became visible that N may have been in discomfort as he began to shed tears, and lifted his jumper over his head and rocked backward and forward. N was silent throughout. B comforted N by kneeling down to his eye level and offered a tissue. She then began to encourage M through conversation and communicated that it would be nice to apologise to N if it had been an accident. M appeared reluctant to apologise or acknowledge what B had said to him or his actions against N. I listened and observed with the assessor, as I had been speaking with another child and felt that B was in complete control of the situation.

During the walk over from juniors to infants M had been reluctant to put on his yellow jacket, as worn by all children during pick ups. Unlike him he refused, and said that he wasn’t in the mood, I asked if he was o.k, he responded that he was fine but not in the mood. I extended by asking if he could leave the jacket around his neck, again he stated that he wasn’t in the mood and chose to walk off away from group. I was aware where he was heading and led the remainder of group with to the hall.

On arrival he had been seated around the snack table. I chose not to extend on what had happened outside and signed the children in while they played. My observation having worked with M for a few years had been that he didn’t appear himself today, I therefore allowed him his own space to play. He later asked for the cricket to be taken out, and he proceeded to use the bat for his own varied play. I was able to observe from a distance his communication with the group who wanted to play cricket. He chose to bat miniature cars around the hall and use the Lego from the table in a similar manner. I observed that at no stage had he made verbal interaction with anyone else, this lasted for about 5 minutes. Again I chose not to intervene, as no one would have been harmed by his actions.

A few of the children had indicated that they wanted to play outside, and one of the children from reception bellowed out from their little voice box “let’s go, let’s go, let’s hit outside”. B remained inside with another playworker and her assessor. Another playworker followed us outside. M joined us and participated in the football opportunity, however appeared irritated by others ability and chose to insult and attempt to draw others into varied disputes during the game. I observed him being spoken to by one of his peers  throughout, and they appeared to be encouraging him to calm down.

The children made their own adjustment to the game, which I thought had been a positive idea. It involved ‘transferring ‘players from one team to another, in order to keep results close. This happened at their own agreed time period. I had earlier been aided to bring down loose parts from shed, and used breeze blocks stacked three high with a plank of wood across the top to form low goals. Some of the children not immediately involved in this game used the remaining loose parts with imagination.

Two year two children explained the game to us. For this game no goalie would be required, this would enable the children to move freely around the pitch. A small boundary using plastic cones had been formed, if the ball came out of area the children would roll it back in under arm. Penalties would also be taken from the middle of the pitch with the kicker allowed to take one step before striking the ball, with no goalie. There appeared to be an air of fun and appreciation of the game, with more laughter and enjoyment than I could ever have envisaged. The game lasted about an hour and had not been remotely affected by the down pour of heavy rain for about 5-10 minutes. I had made the children aware that we could remain outside regardless of the weather, many opted for this. I observed that as wet as we had become, the children made a good judgement to reduce their speed and adapted to the wet playing surface.

The time had now been around 5.30pm with only the children participating in the football outside with T and myself. I had asked T if he would take my place in game while I began to collect the equipment to be return to the shed. Having returned from the shed and turned the corner into the playground I saw numerous multi-coloured plastic cones swirling in the air coming from M’s direction and landing upon C’s head.

M’s reaction had been to turn his face and shout out some explicit adult language as colourful as the multi-coloured as the cones. C and the other children engaged in the football chose to walk away and head inside. M and one other child had now been the only children outside with T and myself. I took the opportunity to speak with M about his action in today’s session. “ I need space. I seriously need my space”

My intention was not for M to make an apology, but merely for him to reflect on how his behaviour and how it could affect the way he communicated or interacted in the future with other children. We spoke about his manner and conduct with the N and B, at the start of the session, and I elaborated that I thought it was out of character; however his actions appeared to disrupt other children’s play opportunities. M stated that he didn’t want to apologise earlier as he felt that N had been pretending to he hurt.

The nature of our conversation appeared to have allowed  him to speak with me freely, and he acknowledged why I felt it necessary to speak with him,  I  also made M aware that I felt he had let himself down today. We explored the importance of having varied day’s of behaviour, about sometimes not have to answer or justify our actions and normality to have periods where we all push boundaries.

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re-blog friday’s

Maggie Madly Writing

A few weeks ago at work, there was a seminar about the Plain Writing Act, which President Obama signed into law on October 13, 2010. The purpose of the act is just as it says: to require federal agencies use plain writing in every covered document issued or substantially revised. I think the Plain Writing Act should have been signed into law a long time ago, because who wants to read through legal jargon when they’re trying to get information about health insurance? It’s especially unfair to the elderly, who shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer just to read about their choice of assisted living centers, nursing homes, etc.

I learned that the general public reads at about an 8th grade level. I don’t think that’s a good thing, but I suspect that with college becoming (supposedly) more affordable these days, and with more people going to college…

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Re-blogged to qualitywithinplay as part of my re-blog friday – keep you the good work

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

“Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life…
Know your own bone: gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still”
—Thoreau, as quoted in Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life


I am a writer first, but once I become a teacher, I will use smoke and mirrors to get my students unstuck, to get them gnawing on their own bones. We do rapid-fire writing drills. I play keen illusionist to their bored bravado, ratcheting the intensity with cliché—C’mon, guys! Time’s a-wasting! There’s money on the line! (Who says such things?) In fact, our whole selves are on the line, and we all know this, hence, the magic show. As writers, we sometimes have to trick ourselves into going there: we have to dodge our conscious minds with sporting maneuvers.

I do, anyway. Each time I write…

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I’ve really enjoyed your feature, so much so that I’ve re-blogged it: if you have any objections please feel free to communicate

eddie nuttall

“Out beyond the idea of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
– Rumi

It is the wettest midwinter I can remember in Manchester, and this city does rainfall like no other. I cycled swiftly across town from Gorton to Hulme, swerving around saturated potholes and grey-brown gulleys that glisten in the falling drizzle. Upon approaching the after school club I encountered very mixed feelings about what the evening ahead might bring. “Take the older kids over to the park next Tuesday Eddie,” Colleen, the club manager, suggested as we rounded last week’s planning meeting, “Whatever the weather. They need a break from here.” It seemed like an excellent suggestion at the time; I had been hankering for an excuse to break free from the church hall with the primary-age kids. If they are not complaining about being bored and frustrated, they are going…

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Remember when you were seven years old on the playground at school? The swings, the games, and all the fun to be had was the highlight of your day. When you were younger there was alway the crush that you had, always that person who you were linked to romantically, though you were seven and the only romance that you had was maybe holding hands and a quick five second kiss, in that case you knew it was serious! There was always that awkward first crush phase that you usually had were you would push them down, or throw rocks at the person. You really liked someone if you threw rocks, sometimes I wish I would have gotten pelted instead of being the one who constantly was throwing them.

There was one time a girl pushed me in muddy ice water in the fourth grade. I think it was her…

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Summer of Love

I love the summer break, always have done. Doesn’t bother me either that we’ll probably only get a day or two here and there of sun.

I’ve fallen in love this summer. I’ve been away from work and spent an enormous amount of time with my family, and continue to appreciate every drop of each moment.

I’ve not trained for the up and coming football season, for the first time in years my body feels invigorated.

I’ve spent time visiting parks, festivals and open days. Osadia

I’ve spent time walking through nature reserves, and in the warmth eating and sharing blue bubblegum ice cream.

I’ve been soaking up the atmosphere of the Olympics Olympics 2012, and visited Hyde Park with my littleman, who is still recovering from seeing Chris Hoy, and watched numerous games at Wembley Stadium.

My summer of love has allowed me to embrace the beauty of London. Diamond Jubilee Diamond Jubilee, Wimbledon, Olympics, and the BBC coverage, especially the open ceremony was breathtaking. Jess Ennis, Women’s volleyball, Mo Farrah, Chris Hoy, the Jamaica athletic’s and the world records!, list goes on Olympics 2012 footage.

So I missed out on going Jamaica House, and Puma Yard, and to add insult to everything the day I chose not to go Roundhouse the USA Olympic Team had their party there with Nas,  

 and were giving away gold beats by dre headphones.

Spent extended time with my mother cleareing out her loft, and found the most distressing throwback photos of me wearing some unsavoury looking clothing. Listened to her patios leave my littleman in hysterics, and her “teachment” to describe my late granddad’s terminology. Did some gardening, barbecuing, and shared alot of  jokes. I’m glad that her character has not altered one bit. Had to use a dust pan and brush to remove leaves from her lawn that had been cut two days prior to my visit. THEN afterwards got it trimmed again with mower. WOW.

This Summer of Love has also reminded me of how fragile life can be with the news that my godbrother committed suicide while in the West Indies with my family while burying his grandmother. Too many uncertainties……………

…. over to you Lanyo