There was an interesting study done on how to bully-proof a school playground that I found at the education.com website. I pulled some highlights from the study findings referenced in the article that I am sharing here. In the article, it discusses techniques for setting up school playgrounds to create a better structured and prosocial setting. The findings from the study included:
- Results from this study suggest that structured and cooperative games during school recess can have a strong impact on increasing childhood prosocial behaviors and decreasing behaviors found to lead to aggression and bullying (e.g., high levels of rough physical play).
- Further, the role of active supervision among adults on the playground had beneficial effects, especially in promoting positive interactions among youth of diverse cultures.
- The fact that this relatively-intensive study was enthusiastically supported by the school suggests that partnerships between researchers and diverse school staff and students can be used to create respectful and sensitive bullying and aggression prevention programs on school playgrounds during recess.
This study is descriped in more detail in Leff, Costigan, & Power (11).
The author of the article also suggested the following tips for parents based on the study:
- Establish a “go to” or point person at school, such as a teacher or playground supervisor;
- Avoid bullying hotspots at school (e.g., less well supervised areas on the playground);
- Participate in structured and supervised activities during school-recess;
- Make good decisions about which activities or groups of friends to join; and
- Inform school personnel if a child is being bullied.
In addition, parents and teachers can help students involved in aggressive conflicts by teaching problem-solving strategies to help children slow down and think through potential conflict situations, by modeling and role playing appropriate ways in which to stay calm in social situations, and by building empathy and perspective-taking skills by asking questions and discussing the child’s school day.
There is some further information about the study and how it was conducted. Follow this link to read the full article at education.com.