Return to Strategies for RECESS in Schools
Engage the School Community to
Engaging everyone in the school community—including staff, students, parents, and other invested community members—can help recess be successful and sustainable. Identifying the unique roles and contributions of these individuals can help schools strategically engage all school partners.
15. Establish roles and responsibilities for supervising and facilitating recess.
School staff and volunteers have two important roles during recess. One is to supervise students to ensure that they are safe and following the rules, protocols, and expectations.2,11
The other is to be involved and active with students during recess—that is, to facilitate physical activity.31
Adult supervision of organized activities increases physical activity levels and reduces playground injuries, bullying, and exclusionary behavior.9
Well-supervised play time that is also unorganized can be effective at increasing physical activity.11
When developing the recess plan, schools should determine the responsibilities and staffing for the two distinct roles of supervisor and physical activity facilitator.
16. Involve students in planning and leading recess.
Students should be able to choose activities they enjoy, not only to increase their physical activity levels, but also to empower them to lead activities and encourage other students to join them. Schools can use student leaders to set up and lead recess activities, which allows them to direct their own games, support their peers, and model positive social skills.35
Elevating the role of student leaders during recess is a catalyst for positive youth development.17,18
17. Mobilize parents and others in the school community to support and sustain recess at school.
Parents and other members of the school community can play a unique role in garnering support for recess by helping with implementation, fund-raising, and promotion.36
Parents and school community members can be trained to help recess supervisors or physical activity facilitators, and they can volunteer their time to help schools offer daily recess and multiple recesses to students.37
Middle and high schools can consider engaging the expertise of local fitness club staff, who may be willing to offer free introductory sessions of the group exercises offered at their facilities. This approach is another way to leverage community volunteers to increase physical activity among students. Parents and school community members also can communicate the benefit of recess to district and school administrators and to others who make decisions about recess policies and practices in schools.
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