Many teachers are looking for ways of improving playground behaviour in schools as this can be a tricky subject to tackle. Ensuring children behave sensibly can help reduce safety risks when playing outside as well as making sure they are having fun.
Bullying is one of the main issues a school might have to deal with on the playground, but there are many other things children do which may be considered as breaking the rules. This could be going into out of bounds areas, using inappropriate equipment, climbing on dangerous structures and many other features.
There are a few ways you can manage children’s behaviour when playing outside and help to prevent problems or risks. Outdoor play itself can actually help manage children’s behaviour, check out this post to learn more about this.
Creating an Engaging Environment
By having a range of different features such as equipment and floor markings, you are keeping kids interested and stopping them from getting bored. Usually, boredom is one of the main things which lead kids to start misbehaving. By creating an engaging environment, you are less likely to see children picking on others.
Some ideas of things you could include on the playground are:
- Floor markings such as numbers, letters, classic games, shapes etc.
- Climbing frames
- Trim trails
- Musical instruments
- Sensory equipment
- Interactive activity boards
- Bridges and obstacles
There are so many different options to choose from, and having a diverse play area helps keep children entertained during break times. This is just one way of improving playground behaviour in schools and there are many more things you can do. Plenty of playground marking designs are available if you want to make the existing surface more exciting.
Provide Enough Seating and Facilities
You may not realise that certain rules are being broken due to a lack of facilities on the playground. For example, children may be sitting on walls and steps or against windows because there is nowhere else to sit. While sitting in these places may be against the rules due to health and safety reasons, you should be providing an alternative.
Things like benches, tables and shelters give children somewhere to go if they don’t want to play on equipment or run around. It’s also a good idea to place bins in multiple places outside to help prevent littering and make sure the outdoor space is kept tidy. These items are fairly simple to install onto the playground and they generally last a long time without much maintenance.
Ensure Equipment is Diverse and Inclusive
Not all children want to play with the same things or do the same activities. It’s important to ensure equipment is diverse and inclusive if you need to improve playground behaviour. While some children may want to run around and use up all their energy, others may be happier to sit quietly or play a more logical game. View this page to learn more about different types of equipment for schools. There are many ways you can accommodate these things in your play area including:
- Grid markings on the floor surface
- Throwing areas
- Designated areas for playing sports like football
- Quiet zones with seating
- Climbing structures and towers
- Equipment for individual and group activities
All these things can help keep children engaged, whatever it is they want to do in their break times. Some kids are very sporty and active while others prefer to relax, so it’s important to provide options for both. Many schools will choose to have sensory play equipment, and these have plenty of benefits.
Playground Behaviour Rules
The best thing to do is take a whole school approach to improving playground behaviour and make sure everyone is following the same set of rules and instructions. If children don’t know what they are and aren’t allowed to do, it causes confusion and makes bad behaviour more likely.
Here are a few ways of implementing playground behaviour rules for lunchtimes and breaks:
- Make sure supervisors are aware of which rules need to be followed, including any out of bounds areas or possible incidents which could occur.
- Display rule cards throughout the playground and next to pieces of equipment to help encourage sensible use.
- Be sure to acknowledge and praise children who are playing cooperatively and appropriately.
- Use assemblies to address any recurring issues with behaviour on the playground if you see the same things happening.
- Teaching a set of games to children so they have an idea of what they could play or do instead of being bored.
These can all help you keep control of break times and prevent boredom from turning into trouble making. This article from Beacon School Support explains more ways you can implement a better lunchtime routine.
Get in Touch
If you are interested in installing new equipment or enhancing your play area surfaces, please get in touch with our team and let us know what you’re looking for. We can provide information on a range of products including safety surfacing and floor markings to suit your school.