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Playground Policy

Playground Policy

Playground Policy

Mission Statement:

St.Columba’s N.S strives for excellence in education by providing a safe, caring environment where we are all valued and respected as individuals, enabling everyone to reach their full potential. 


Every child has the right to enjoy a positive outdoor play experience. Outdoor play should be adequately supervised. Children should feel safe. Children should not be coerced into games. For children to feel safe, adults on duty need to be respected and their instructions followed. The environment should be enjoyed and treated respectfully. 

Our Playground rules are as follows:

 We are respectful to everybody

 We are careful when we are playing

 Adults on duty must be listened to and their instructions followed

 We are respectful of school property (eg. No swinging from or climbing on basketball poles or the ramp railing) 

 Play equipment is to be treated respectfully and with care

 Outdoor clothing needs to be kept on in cool or cold weather 

 No child leaves the playground without the teacher’s consent 

 We are sensible at lining up (Bell 1=Freeze, Bell 2=Walk to single file lines)

These rules are designed to promote:

 A calm and orderly school environment

 Safety

 Equality and fairness

How Positive Behaviour is Promoted in the Playground:


 Members of teaching and support staff are ‘on duty’ in the mornings from 8.20am and at break times

 In bad weather children will be kept inside the school premises and supervised by staff eg. class teachers / SNAs. Children are expected to sit and do a calm activity during this time eg. talk, read a book, colouring, card games, board games etc. 

 Staff on duty at break times are on the playground before the children and will ensure the school gates are closed

 Class teachers should ensure the teacher on duty is outside before leaving their children in the yard

 Senior staff are available to deal with any serious incidents

Guide for On Duty Staff

Try to move regularly from place to place. Make sure you visit all areas for which you are responsible to check children are playing safely.

Do not stand talking to other supervisors or spend a long time with one group of children; try to talk to and engage with as many children as possible so that they get to know you and you are aware of anything untoward.

Expect children to be polite and responsive – we work by the code of treating others as we would expect to be treated ourselves. 

Avoid confrontation – always treat children with respect and have the expectation of being respected.

If it is a minor issue, just remind the children how they should behave; in a positive fashion. Raised voices should only have to be used in rare circumstances. Rather than framing communication to children negatively try to remind children what they should be doing in a positive manner. 

Record incidents in writing when necessary. 

Positive role models

 Adults need to follow the rules that are set in place for the children

 SNAs supporting an identified child 1:1 should actively try to involve them in games and play with other children during playtime

 Adults will use positive restorative language when talking to children about problems or conflicts on the playground

 Adults will give all parties the chance to speak before deciding if any sanctions are necessary

 Playground buddies model positive play and help to mediate conflicts.

 At the end of playtime all adults remind children to freeze at the first bell and WALK to their lines at the second bell.


Children will be given a warning and a chance to improve their behaviour. However sometimes an immediate response will be called for. Additionally there will be times when a child or children need time to reflect on their behaviour.

There are 3 steps:

1. Standing by the wall / shed for 2 - 5 minutes or sitting on the step in the back yard for the younger children watching other children play

2. Holding an adults hand (in the infants) if unable or unwilling to stand by the wall or sit on the step

3. Being sent to sit outside the office to ‘think’ about their behaviour and filling out a ‘think’ sheet

Behaviour that leads to being sent to sit outside the office

 When a child or children ‘loses control’ and needs to be removed from a situation

 When a child is acting in a way that is a danger to themselves or others.

 Aggressive or violent behaviour – verbal or physical e.g. kicking/ spitting/ hitting/ swearing.

 Bullying behaviour – persistent incidences will be dealt with according to our bullying policy and procedures.

 Deliberate breaking of our Playground Rules


A record is kept of children who are sent to sit by the office. The teacher on duty must fill in the behaviour book for any behaviours that result in being sent to the office. This records the nature of the behaviour that led to that point. This is monitored to check for patterns or ‘regulars’. Staff supervising the playground may also give class teachers a verbal account of incidents. Teachers will use their judgement of when to inform parents. Parents will be informed of any serious incidences and invited in to discuss patterns of behaviour.

Staying Safe

 Children are not allowed to stay inside without adult supervision

 Children will be encouraged to use the bathrooms before going outside for playtime.

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