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The first school term of the year marked the launch of a very exciting project by Chuckle Productions that aims to identify whether a lunchtime provision will help children boost the skills needed to develop friendships.

Sponsored by Sovereign, the scheme is just finishing its first term and feedback from the first half term has been collected and interpreted. So, how is progress and what results have been found so far?

“The first half term has been a settling in period for the pupils, getting to know and feel comfortable with their peers across the various year groups,” commented Chuckle’s Sara Christie. “As this was a new initiative to the school, we observed that many of the children were nervous at the start of the term. However, even after the first week most of this nervousness had been replaced with many of the pupils now taking an inquisitive approach to the sessions. The most popular question on arrival is “what are we doing today?” or “can we play the game from last week?”

Activities during the half-term’s sessions involved a mixture of whole group, smaller group and pair games. All sessions focussed on social skills and the exploration of friendships. This included looking at friendship characteristics, such as the importance of working together, trust and paying attention to one another – and this was reinforced through a variety of games. Songs were also incorporated, creating a sense of belonging and familiarity to the group in this initial half term.

Physical skills were addressed through games that aid coordination, core strength and gross motor skills. Children also had the opportunity to collaborate and develop their own rules for games.

“Overall, we have found a genuine willingness to be involved in the group, by both the focus pupils and non-focus pupils. The children seem genuinely happy and pleased when it is a Chuckle lunchtime and many appear much more confident within the setting and join in enthusiastically with familiar elements of sessions.” Sara continues.

Excitingly, this positive feedback hasn’t just been noticed by the Chuckle team, but by the school, who have reported that the children are starting to show positive outcomes in different ways. For example, one pupil appears much more confident, particularly with speech, whereas another is confidently sharing what he’s done and learnt during the sessions. Non-focus pupils are also excited to take part.

As the project continues, Sovereign will be catching up with Chuckle on a regular basis. Our next update will be looking at how the group has developed skills during the remainder of the spring term  – please stay tuned to find out how the project progresses.

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