To explore children’s perceptions of playground friendships

Aim

To explore children's perceptions of playground friendships.

Evidence and reflection

Watch the children at your school in the playground. Notice particularly how children use and occupy playground spaces and any significant actions or verbal exchanges between different groups of children. Make quick notes of your observations.

In the classroom, talk with the children about their friendship groups and their use of the playground. Ask them to draw a plan of the playground, marking areas in which they or others like to go or play, and noting the major activities that take place. Discuss the plans with the children in friendship groups. Take the opportunity to discuss how they feel about playing with different groups of children.

Make a note of the points that emerge. Do you begin to get a sense of the friendship groups that exist within the pupil culture of your school? What are their characteristic activities and attitudes to school?

Extension

Share your response to the activity with a colleague who has also done the activity. Can you see any patterns in terms of the major friendship groups and the attainment and attitudes to school of the children within them? Do some have higher status and others lower? How do the patterns in children's friendships relate to organizational differentiation within the school?