When I inspect playgrounds, the most effective monitors see me coming right away and investigate. I applaud their dedication and keen powers of observation. After all, monitors must stay focused on the children’s safety, despite the numerous distractions, including constant noise and the often changing weather conditions.
Monitors should try to:
- Stay off their cell phone
- Not talk to each other in a group
- Circulate throughout the play area
- Not stand near the building
The best monitors will:
- Review the area for safety hazards before letting the children play.
- Know who to call in an emergency and have the correct telephone numbers already entered in their cell phone.
- Properly pass on information about events such as bullying or fighting.
- Know how to report problems such as broken glass or missing parts.
- Be empowered to:
- Close off parts of the playground if they spot hazards
- Bring the children inside if it becomes wet or icy
- Stop the children from using a metal slide if it is too hot
- Know how to assemble the children quickly to return inside for emergencies or in case of lightning/thunder.
- Work together as a team to coordinate a consistent list of playground rules.
- Position themselves near the most challenging piece of playground equipment or plan to pass by frequently to reduce the likelihood of injuries.
- Understand the procedures to follow if they observe a stranger or a suspicious vehicle nearby.
- Aim to increase positive interaction with the children and remember their names.
- Know what to do with forgotten jackets, gloves, etc. after recess.
- Stay alert to the changing school news about wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, or extra handwashing due to COVID.
- Wear bright jackets or vests (if provided) to make it easier for the children to identify them and improve security with their increased visibility.
Consider providing additional training to your staff, such as:
- Effective Supervision
- First Aid/CPR
- Dealing With Choking
- Understanding Bullying
- Security Reminders
Be sure not to overlook the important role of your playground monitors.