Researchers and educators agree that physical activity and play can benefit elementary schoolers, but not every playground is physically, socially, and emotionally safe for students. A team of researchers from Playworks Education Energized has developed a tool to help educators evaluate their playgrounds and the activities that take place there.
The Great Recess Framework is a 17-point rubric that looks at playground safety and structure, adult engagement and supervision, student behaviors, transitions from classroom to recess, and amount of physical activity. Using the checklist, observers can assess whether a play space has adequate boundaries and equipment, whether there are enough adults observing the space and interacting with the children, and whether students are interacting positively and solving problems themselves.
Source: Massey, W.V., Stellino, M.B., Mullen, S.P., Claassen, J., & Wilkison, M. (2018). Development of the great recess framework: Observational tool to measure contextual and behavioral components of elementary school recess. BMC Public Health, 18 (394).