Critical Issue #8: Non-Trained Recess Staff is Unsafe


Whether the weather is warm or cold, kids need a break at school to release energy during recess. However, the current state of supervision, or lack thereof, during recess time has left most schools with an unsafe outdoor environment. In most cases, large groups of kids are supervised by one or two adults during recess. Adequate supervision becomes impossible with only one adult looking over 40 to 50 kids per adult. At the same time, the adults supervising recess are not typically trained to handle emergency situations.

With a large number of kids outdoors during recess, a variety of emergency situations may arise. For example, a noncustodial parent may realize that only two adults are watching over 100 children during recess. This allows the noncustodial parent to easily remove their child from the playground. If the untrained recess supervisor notices the situation, how will they respond? Will they leave the playground to seek help? In this case, only one adult would be left to supervise twice the amount of children they are accustomed to looking over, which may cause the emergency situation to escalate. Instead, there should be enough staff to oversee the recess area and each staff member should understand the step-by-step procedures they will need to take in any given situation.

The key to proper recess supervision is to ensure proper training and to provide an adequate ratio of children to supervisors while on the playground. Don’t wait until an emergency arises in order to determine how the situation will be handled. You can easily avoid making an emergency problem worse or can prevent emergencies altogether by properly training your recess staff on how to handle any number of possible situations. The simple solution to creating a safe recess environment is to give your recess staff the tools they need to do their job as proficiently as possible.