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Charles Lea FRSA is conducting a study of the interaction of children via the games, pastimes, jokes, tricks and so on practised in both primary and secondary schools in the playground during break and lunch times.

Research is to be made via children completing an online questionnaire in school followed by analysis of the data obtained. Other areas of questioning would include how children deal with newcomers, teachers, serious situations such as a personal death or tragedy and rivalry.

The research, analysis and conclusions will then be recorded for heritage purposes as well as for contemporary social study.

Inspiration for this project comes from the work of Iona and Peter Opie in their anthology, “The Lore and Language of School children”. In their 1959 study, they obtained contributions from around 5000 children across the United Kingdom.

They acknowledged the power of the TV and films in influencing how children reacted with each other at play but were still able to record regional and other differences including games and sayings that had gone on for generations.

This period of play is of interest as it does not, usually, include the children using computers or their own phones.

The core aim is to identify the effect of culture and its increased globalisation on children against the heritage of games and sayings seemingly laid down since time immemorial and / or their education.

A test run at an independent preparatory school showed that games such as Sardines are still being played although the rules of British Bulldogs have been tamed.

Questions will be asked about how they use these influences and whether they are used on a positive or negative basis. Can educators help influence play at this time to help mental wellbeing just like sports can?

We believe that schools and the children themselves would enjoy taking part in the project and comparing themselves with other children around the country.

We are seeking assistance from Fellows in:

1. Promoting the project to maintained, independent and academy primary and secondary schools who would be interested in taking part in the project; and

2. Advising on software development in relation to the online recording of data.

For more information please contact Charles Lea via his MyRSA  or at charles@readnowwritenow.org.uk

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