Bucket Time

We have introduced ‘Bucket Time’ across all of our KS1 and KS2 classes, running regular bucket time in small groups of selected children. ‘Bucket Time’ is an intervention model developed by a Speech and Language Therapist and is used widely throughout schools in England. This programme is devised to support children who display difficulties in their attention and listening skills, it aims at developing spontaneous and natural communication through the use of visual activities. This intervention is specifically designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder but it also benefits children who struggle generally with social communications. 

This activity helps the children:

  • To engage attention
  • To improve joint attention
  • To develop shared enjoyment in group activities
  • To increase attention in adult-led activities
  • To encourage spontaneous interaction in a natural group setting
  • To increase non-verbal and verbal communication through commenting
  • To build a wealth and depth of vocabulary
  • To have fun!

The ‘Bucket Time’ programme progresses through a series of stages, building on each skill level. Each new stage is introduced when the group is ready to expand attention skills.

Stage 1: The Bucket to Focus Attention

Our bucket is filled with visually engaging objects and toys, aiming to gain the shared attention of the group.

First, a song is sung: ‘What have we got in the bucket today, bucket today, bucket today? What have we got in the bucket today? Shall we have a look?” working on making eye contact with the children. 

Next, the adult leader shows each item, from the bucket, to the group and uses simple repetitive vocabulary to comment on the various objects.

Stage 2: The Attention Builder

Visually stimulating activities are shown to the group by the adult leader, aiming to sustain attention for a longer period. The activities are fun, visually engaging and can often involve making a mess. 

Stage 3: Turn taking and Re-engaging Attention

The adult leader demonstrates a simple activity, often modelled with another adult in the group. Some children are then invited to have a turn, but only if they are comfortable to do so.

The children in our group get a turn, which then teaches important emotional regulation skills, as well as the essential skills of waiting, turn-taking and learning through modelling.