Play Powerpoint

This powerpoint was shared with pupils in Assembly (28/04/17) to encourage all to share their ideas about developing play in the playground. Knowing not all ideas will become a reality, but some could, and all will inspire is key to this fun consultation time. The mapping is becoming more of a chat and share session on Tuesday 2nd May, at the beginning of OUTDOOR WEEK and just after the Whole School Picnic. Morning Nursery children are welcome to come back with parents / carers to take part too – from 1:15 – 2 pm approximately.

Play Presentation 26:4:17

Active Lifestyles for Children

  1. Free play
  2. Dance
  3. Time in Nature.
  4. Swimming and Cycling
  5. Team Sports
  6. Individual Sports and Active Pursuits.

For ideas and tasters – look to Active East Lothian. Each cluster has Active Schools Co-ordinators, who help volunteers and coaches deliver a programme of sports and dance for children. The more volunteers willing to be trained in specific programmes or share their experience and expertise, the more can be offered at affordable cost. Details available from local A.S. Co-ordinator (ask in school or link through the website).

Active Schools also partner in the Children’s Bursary for East Lothian, so that low income is not a barrier to any child accessing the courses. Referral to the Support from the Start bursary for children up to age of 8, and general children’s bursary scheme for up to 16, can be made by teachers or health visitors.

Much is known now about the link to active physical pursuits and good diet to good health – cardiovascular / healthy hearts, good bone density and growth, flexibility – muscle tone, less obesity with associated diseases such as diabetes. It has the added importance for children in the development of good vision – with the muscles of the eye developing fully.

Scotland has been rated in two contrasting positions around its global Active Healthy Kids Report Card.

2nd from top in terms of policy and methodology. Highly commended for this – yet bottom equal in terms of childrens levels of activity against recommendations. Prof. John Reilly’s report for Scotland (2016) can be viewed here – this is the condensed version. The level of physical activity is measured on moderate to vigorous. (MVPA).

Much is known now about the link to better mental health too. Active and outdoors, with a balance between calm and tranquil to social and physically challenging, is known to offset stress, distress and depression, for example.

BUT – did you also know this is our children’s best chance of eliminating / reducing the risk of developing (vascular) dementia in their later years?

For more information see Dementia Friendly East Lothian or Alzheimer Scotland.

(There is also a great resource for explaining Dementia to children here.)

PPS – Playground ~ Play ~ School

2016/2017 News.

In addition to other items highlighted through School Improvement Plan 2016:17 and actions to support Numeracy, Reflective Reading, Growth Mindset and our new HT’s transition into Pencaitland and East Lothian, the Parent Council had a few carry forward items from 40th Anniversary and new developments to explore after issues raised by Learning Council (pupils) and Parents / Carers around play and the environment for playing at PPS.

So – we created a short questionnaire for the pupils, with the pupils – and shared this in March 2017.

We created links – and a working group team of PTA, PC and other parents in Spring 2017.

We are exploring ideas which would benefit the pupils, develop important skills and improve enjoyment of time in school, with a focus on inclusion, well-being and practical.

With Haddington Cluster excited to have their own Loose Parts Play Development Officer, and other schools in East Lothian reaping the benefits of creating wonderful innovative approaches, it’s only right that PPS looks to build on it’s excellent reputation of yesteryear too :).

Maybe this: Transforming Primary School Playtimes and Playpods, but we will see what consultation with the children brings!

What can parents and carers do now?

If YOU have ideas to improve playground and inspire break-times, please share them.

Speak to a Parent Council member, or email

Some ideas will be shared with the pupils after Easter, examples of play landscapes and experiences in other schools. A mapping or Blue Sky exercise will be planned also to find out where the children like to play most, and doing what. It may work as a wish and stars type of consultation, but we really want to look at how the areas are being used now, and what the children would like.

                  Play Spring Mission

The school is also considering how to approach improvements, especially with money in very short supply. In Feb/March the children have been given more open use of the tarmac area of the playground. No more ‘invisible line’ dividing infants from middle and upper school. Parents and close family members were invited to join the pupils on lunch break time, to support play with ideas of games played as children.

The PTA and other parents planned for time in Easter break to work on the sandpit area and new sandpit toys are being bought from PTA funds.

Colour and design for the playground can be reintroduced in simple ways – and this will also start to happen in summer term, following ideas discussed and agreed at the time of the 40th Anniversary.

Research states that the happier and healthier our children are, emotionally and physically, is an enormous boost for their learning and well-being. Playing in different age groups is incredibly important for social development of children and if we can build this into more intergenerational experiences – our community is strengthened too.


Free play – the children’s own choices over their time – needs to be recognised as the building block for life and so PPS is embracing play as key to education also.

Maybe PPS will end up being blogged about too.

Planning for outdoor space development needs thought, insight, expertise and fundraising…watch this space! 🙂

Rookie Rockstars – FAQs & Feedback


FAQs re Rookie Rockstars coming to Pencaitland.


The audience would have to be competing with the kids for who enjoyed the Rookie Rockstars’ gig tonight. Well done to Glynn who hosted and compèred the show, to the unexpected stars on the night and the supeROCKstars on stage.

Loads of fun for all and great work from all last week too.

What is Risk Benefit

Risk Benefit Approach. 


For a long time organisations and institutions have been working on a Risk Adverse basis, but this has a serious impact for childhood, learning and developing. It is now recognised that children must be exposed to risk in a way which enables natural problem solving, developing awareness and abilities to keep themselves safe but also to be adventurous and willing to try new experiences. We now use Risk Benefit where potential benefits and harm are weighed up to consider a more effective and appropriate approach towards experiences – both common and unusual.

Growth Mindset Parent and Carer Workshop


Martha Gordon, Educational Psychologist treated parents and carers to an interesting and enjoyable powerpoint presentation on 5th Dec, to help give a greater understanding of the Growth Mindset theme for PPS this year.

Everyone enjoyed it, but many couldn’t attend on the evening, so for all of us – a reminder or an insight into the information shared. Many thanks to Ms Wilson for organising the evening and to Martha for sharing this.

Growth Mindset PPS Information Powerpoint

5 Surprising Ways to Encourage Your Kid & No Such Thing as Failure.

There’s No Such Thing As Failure.

Have you heard that?….Or another, There’s No Failure, Only Feedback. Both are saying the same thing. Situations / outcomes may not work out exactly the way you thought it would / hoped it might, but each time we fail to achieve what we set out to do at that time, we actually have useful information and experience which we can use to persevere with, creating positive steps to change something and improve our efforts.

Learning to trust ourselves to cope with both failure and success – and continue to grow, develop and shape is very important for all of us, as we develop independent and interdependent skills.

RIE stands for Resources for Infant Educarers. (All parents fall into the Educarers group). The concept of Magda Gerber, a much respected expert in child care and the belief that the child is born primed to evolve therefore parents and others need to facilitate it rather than lead it.

Janet Lansbury is probably one of the most well-known supporters and advocates of RIE today, following her earlier fame as an actress. The principals of RIE parent style can be echoed throughout childhood and into adolescence, by parents, carers, schools staff and more. The work of Magda Gerber links directly to Growth Mindset, resourcefulness, self efficacy and resilience as can be seen from this post; 5 Surprising Ways to Encourage Your Kids

What’s the big deal about emotions?

Developing Self Regulation, Empathy and Confidence in self.

The more children interact, the more they need to be understood and, naturally, the more they need to understand others. That means, bit by bit, getting really good at learning about people who you don’t know so well, and often, who are not yet experts at expressing themselves. Babies start reading body language and facial expressions, as well as tone from an incredibly young age, recognising their mother’s face from birth to some expressions within the first few days. Babies are born primed for Connection and so this is vital for well-being, development, growth – and initially, for survival.

So what’s next? Learning to identify, name, and productively use your emotion in a way which is beneficial takes years (to maturity), so the early start children have is very important. Being responsive and loving (giving security, warm and positively attached care) means giving emotion and receiving the child’s. Emotional Intelligence is now recognised as being as important in Learning, and more important in the combination of Health and Learning.

babies connected babyBabies arrive already connected to other people.

They arrive in the world as persons, already interested in other people’s facial expressions, rhythms and movements. They are able to communicate.

They have brains that automatically read meaning in the actions of other people.

Babies arrive already connected to other people. They arrive in the world as persons, already interested in other people’s facial expressions, rhythms and movements. They are able to communicate.

They have brains that automatically read meaning in the actions of other people. These are some of the insights that we are gaining from sciences like developmental psychology and neuroscience.

We are learning that babies are born as engaged, relational beings.

They don’t develop social skills later on, such as when they begin to talk or become preschoolers. Their social skills are present from birth.

The way that those skills develop will depend on how other people engage with them, and those experiences will shape the neural pathways in their brain.

This is not the vision that we have always held of babies. It wasn’t very long ago that science thought babies’ mental and emotional worlds were a bit of a blur or that babies were rather socially isolated and inward-focused.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Catch Our Children Before They Fall. Have a look to understand more what happens to a child when we break connection.

Helping to Nurture Emotional Intelligence in our Children.

We can do a lot, and sometimes it starts with what we do ourselves, but teaching empathy and how to manage our own emotions starts with it being modelled by the adults. Nature’s way. We were all born to be interdependent, not fully independent and only fully dependent when we are newborns / infants.

Continue reading “What’s the big deal about emotions?”