Sunday, November 2, 2014

Peaceful Playground

I visit a lot of early childhood programs.  One of the most difficult environments in many programs is the playground.  The wide open spaces, less structure, and excitement can lead to conflict. 

Let's face it!  Teachers are just as excited about getting outside as the children are!!!  Many teachers see this as a time to relax and let the children play while they watch.  Although it is a very relaxed environment, there are many opportunities to help children learn self-regulation and social skills on the playground!

If you plan ahead and teach children the structures necessary to help them be safe on the playground you will make outside time much more enjoyable for everyone!!!

One essential tool for shutting off the stress response and helping children feel safe is VISUALS!  Before releasing children to play on the playground, make sure you take time to MAP out the playground expectations for everyone.  Model your expectation by acting it out yourself or having children role play for you.  Add pictures because pictures govern behavior for young children.  Practice with the children doing it the "right" way and notice them when they do!  When a child goes up the steps and down the slide say, "You did it!!!  You went up the steps and down the slide!  Way to go!!!"

Turn those visuals into a classroom book that can be referred to often!  If you would like a free copy of my playground book just follow this link!  Place it in your classroom library and pull it back out whenever you need a reminder of how to create a peaceful playground environment!  Until next time...I wish you well!