Outdoor Disco

Would you play dance music at playtimes?

Schools are always looking for inventive ways to make playtimes more meaningful, playful and productive.

For some children, playtime is an opportunity to ‘let off some stream’ whereas for others it’s the time when they spend 20 minutes getting wound up.

Positive interactions can be a problem in any playground but what about playing music through some outdoor speakers?

This is precisely what a school in Caherconlish, Limerick have done and they have observed a real difference in pupils’ behaviour – music is helping children interact with each other better.

It wasn’t the teachers who came up with this idea either but the children themselves through their school council.

The Irish school don’t do this everyday – just on a Friday – but playing music on other days makes sense if it works.

No Barriers

Headmaster of Caherline National School, Michael McCarthy, says the music breaks down barriers between boys and girls and also between different age groups. He says,

It’s just brilliant when you see the bigger children taking the little ones by the hand and dancing with them….At first, the boys stood back but they dance now even if they’re playing football! And even the playground staff start to tap their feet.

Go to their Facebook page to watch the action @CaherlineNS2014.

What does the research say? Is there any?

It has been found that playing background ‘world music’ through speakers during a school’s midday break helped children return to their classrooms feeling happier and calmer. Significantly, the research found there was an 80 per cent drop in physical and mental intimidation among pupils.

Leading the research was Naomi Ziv at the College of Management Academic Studies in Rhison Le-Zion, Israel, warned that popular chart music may not be so successful as it could overs-excite.

If you are thinking of playing music at breaks then why not give it a go. Choose your music carefully and remember your neighbours – residents might complain about noise pollution.

Another way to approach this though is by having some pupils play their music using their own instruments and do some playtime busking or how about a flash mob!

And there’s more…

If you head over to the school’s Twitter page you will also find a superb video of the children in the playground exercising – with a difference. Take a look at this! It was filmed using a drone and directed by teacher Bridget Lambert.

Leave a Reply