Playground Interventions

PBS playground interventions should include the following:

1. Set, post, and teach school-wide playground rules.

Sample playground rules:

  • Follow the rules of the game.
  • Use equipment in safe ways.
  • Let everyone play.
  • Keep hands and feet to yourself.
  • Use kind words.

2. Provide social skills instruction.

Students who learn important social skills will have fun on the playground and be successful in other areas of their life as well.

Possible social skills:

  • Asking to join in
  • Sharing something
  • Responding to teasing
  • Being a good sport

More social skills are explained in “The Prepare Curriculum” by Arnold P. Goldstein.

3. Include adult supervision and organized games.

  • Assign playground supervisors different sections of the playground. They need to circulate and monitor their section, initiate organized games, and reinforce positive behavior.
  • Modify the playground to facilitate appropriate play.
  • Arrange play areas for different activities, and provide equipment for games (e.g., soccer balls, kickball bases, jump ropes, etc.).
  • Conduct appropriate interventions such as group contingencies or peer mediation.

4. Target at-risk students by conducting a self-management program focused on controlling aggressive behavior.

  • During this self-management training period, students are taught to rate their own recess behavior and compare their rating with that of recess supervisors.
  • Students also meet with their supervisors twice during each lunch recess.

The following papers provide additional information:

  • Franzen K., & Kamps, D. (2008, July). The utilization and effects of positive behavior support strategies on an urban school playground. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 10, 150-161.
  • Marchant, M., & Christensen, L.  (2007). A treatment package for improving playground behavior and eliminating bullying within a PBS model. Paper presented at the 4th annual International Conference on PBS. (Download PDF)