Arbor Heights Elementary

Arbor Heights

Playground Guidelines

Arbor Heights Playground Guidelines

We have set up a plan that can allow many different activities to occur with as little disruption between games. Without this organization, it is difficult to walk across the playground without getting hit by a ball, jump rope or bowled over by a band of exuberant runners.

We have designated areas for certain activities to help prevent the accidents caused by the random use of playground equipment. Each year we present the recess plan to all the children in small groups within their individual classrooms. It’s presented it a game show format to promote the idea that recess is fun and safe.

Jump Ropes

Teacher lead activity

Jump ropes are in the area closest to the cafeteria. We use the lines of two basketball areas to help organize the games. These hoops cannot be used for basketball as they disrupt the classes that are occurring inside. A teacher supervises this area and helps to coordinate the large group jump rope. The teacher is also helping many children learn how to jump rope and have fun. When using the jump ropes both ends must be held. Games such as “helicopter” or “snake” are not allowed to avoid hitting or injuring other students walking by the game. Jump ropes also cannot be used for other purposes e.g. tying people up, tug of war, etc.


Student lead activity

The basketball designated area is near the painted lines by the basketball hoops. Basketballs must use to shoot hoops, dribble, etc. Kicking basketballs is not allowed (it damages the ball and is painful to be hit by one). The hoops are very high, and this is a source of frustration for many of our younger kids, so it is not played by many.


Teacher lead activity

We can have up to five foursquare games going on this playground at one time. One of these games is lead by a teacher. The teacher is also helping many children learn how to play foursquare and have fun.


Student lead activity (Intermediate recess only)


  • Kick the ball towards the back of the playground (not towards the parking lot).
  • Return the ball to the kicker by throwing or rolling it not by kicking it back out into all of the other games.
  • Effort must be made to try to keep the ball on the playground and avoid kicking the ball over the fence.
  • If the ball does go over the fence, we are unable to retrieve it during recess so kicking the ball over the fence limits the play of everyone. Repeatedly kicking the ball over the fence; there are consequences.


Student lead activity

The soccer designated area is in the back corner of the playground and is also run by the kids. It has the same guidelines as flyers (see above) related to kicking the ball over the fence.

The Playscape

Student lead activity

Students are allowed to be creative and very active in this area. The expectations are that they leave the wood chips on the ground. They are there to protect them when they fall. There are areas for climbing, but they may not climb on top of the monkey bars or the top of the slide. The slide is for sliding down feet first only.

Drop The Cookie

Teacher lead activity (Primary recess only)

“Drop the Cookie” is a highly supervised tagging game. Toy traffic cones are the “cookies.” The student with a cone runs and others gentlyly tag them and say “drop the cookie” (emphasis on the drop, not throw or kick). The student with the cone drops the cookie and now needs to run after other people that have cookies. It’s also an active game and students are often seen panting and resting on the sidelines.

The Trees

Student lead activity

The tree area is a place where students can be very creative and independent. They are not allowed to climb or hang on the trees. Unfortunately, when it rains, a big muddy spot develops here which leads to the obvious problems, as well as puddles elsewhere on the playground.

The Track

Student lead activity

The track is an underutilized area yet with the current playground organization it is available and unobstructed. Many students are creating games and activities in between the organized activities. The expectation is for safe play that includes keeping their hands to themselves and refraining from pulling on sweatshirt or jacket hoods, clothing, piling on top of others, wrestling, and shoving others against the fence.

General Playground Rules & Responsibilities

  • Chip stays on the groundno digging or throwing
  • Hands to ourselves no wrestling grabbing
  • Supervised tag-specific games only e.g. Drop the cookie (Grades K–2 only)
  • Trees and the chips surrounding the trees are off limits for safety
  • Jump ropes are for jumping roping and they stay in the jump rope area by painted hopscotch
  • Basketballs for hoop shooting only no kicking
  • Kick balls toward back fence only
  • Slide is for sliding  slide feet first
  • Top of monkey bars are off limits for safety
  • When the bell rings or a whistle is blown line up right away
  • Put equipment in the barrel/cart at the end of recess
  • Passes are required to leave the playground for the restroom or health office


We have explained the recess plan to all students.

The general policy is:

  1. Remind the student of the expectations of proper play on the playground.
  2. Provide an opportunity to think about the problem if it continues.
  3. Asked to join an activity that is run by a teacher so they can have more support in making good choices.

The time they are expected to stay in a teacher supported activity is increased in increments if the student continues to make choices that interfere with our goal of having a safe and fun recess. Finally, a child can be put on a contract, where a teacher makes and plan with the student for their recess time.

We believe recess is important, and so it is not part of the recess plan to take recess time away. Students who punch, hit, seriously threaten others or act in any aggressive manner are taken to the office and a recess contract may be instituted at that time.