Add Stencils to Playground for recess and classroom use!

September 17, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Posted in Physical Activity - After School, Physical Activity - Before School, Physical Activity - During School | Leave a comment

If you have seen a USA map painted on a playground surface, you have seen one small piece of an inexpensive option that can get students more active both during recess and during classroom time.  

Peaceful Playgrounds Stepping StonesI first became aware of these options when talking with my child’s elementary principal who said she had purchased the USA and World maps and was waiting for the district to resurface our playground before having it painted.  So finally, last summer it was finally our school’s turn for surface updating, and this summer we organized a group of parents to paint not only the USA map from URSA that was purchased long ago, but also “Peaceful Playgrounds” recess kit, that the principal more recently purchased.  Doing a quick check, I realized there are several companies out there that supply these stencils, all at a minimal cost, compared to that of standard playground equipment that PTO/PTA’s struggle to raise money to afford. 

Pam painting the number grids
Our artsy parent Pam painting the number grids


Balance Beam Snake - in Buckeye colors of course...

Balance Beam Snake - in Buckeye colors of course...

Here are some companies who supply instructions/stencils for active learning (If you know of others, please comment!)

So, because we actually used the Peaceful Playgrounds stencils,  I’m partial to Peaceful Playgrounds because of the wonderful activity books and training that accompanies the whole thing for the teachers.   It also comes with sample press releases, specific instructions and fabulous customer service to answer those last minute painting questions!    In addition, there is a whole structure of conflict resolution that goes along with the stencils to promote less arguing, less bullying and reduced injuries. Sure, you may be able to “wing it” and paint some of these yourselves, but don’t forget the most important piece is that each one of these has many many options for learning and integrating into the classroom.  I’ve known other schools who have a group of boy scouts come in and paint something and then leave – not giving the recess aides or  teachers any idea of how to integrate into learning!   I’m not sure what the other companies offer, but I can say nothing but kudos to Melissa Bossenmeyer for developing Peaceful Playgrounds!

We had a total of 23 parents and two staff come out and help -even on those warm August evenings when black pavement was the last place you would want to sit!

Stasi painting the multiuse circle

Stasi painting the multiuse circle

Students learn rules to be used during recess during p.e. class

 When school started, the kids were so excited to see the new stencils. The physical education teachers incorporated teaching the rules of the games into his regular playground safety session, which they  do every year withall the classes. Binders with the games rules and classroom integration ideas were placed in the staff lounge for teachers to see.   The wellness committee is organizing parents to help sew bean bags, which are needed for some of the games.  Next step – Guidance counselor integrates conflict resolution recess during her classroom  lessons, trains peer mediators.  Ideally we’d like to organize a teacher inservice to learn more about integrating into math, spelling, etc lessons!   We will see if there is a difference in the number of nurse’s visits during recess this year vs. last.

USA Map was fun to paint - kids could help with this one!

USA Map was fun to paint - kids could help with this one!

 Are you updating or wondering about the safety of a playground?    Great ideas on!


Playground Dedication - during PTO pancake breakfast - we encouraged parents to come out and play with their kids!


Posted by Mary Chace,   11/16/09


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