Our behavior expectations do not change on the playground, but the situation is less structured. In many ways it is the real test of what students have learned about how to behave at school. Teachers and yard supervisors encourage personal responsibility and the use of conflict resolution skills by the children.
On the playground, students are expected to share the equipment that is available. In order to create the circumstances in which students need to negotiate and compromise in their play, we don’t want students to bring their own play equipment to school. We have a policy of including everyone in games; there are no closed games in which students get to tell some children that they may not play. Beginning in kindergarten, students are taught techniques for entering a game, observing how it is being played and asking about the rules.
When there is a problem, our first strategy is listen and understand, encourage students to talk to each other and help students to take responsibility for their own behavior. In many cases the situation can be resolved through discussion. When consequences for inappropriate behavior are needed, these can include having the student sit down for a period of time, clean up the lunch area or go directly to the office. When needed, yard duty supervisors use “blue slips” to communicate behavior issues to the child’s teacher.
Depending on the particular problem and the student’s general behavior pattern at school, the teacher will work with the student on strategies to avoid repetition of the problem. The teacher may choose to involve the parent to help. Repeated problems on the playground will certainly result in both parent and principal involvement.
Teachers and other staff members earnestly seek to work with parents to encourage good behavior and to solve behavior problems. We know that when teachers and parents work together and children hear a consistent message at home and at school, appropriate behavior is likely to result.