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Creating Rules for the Playground

Teaching Strategies Series 

Involving preschool-aged children in creating classroom rules can be a powerful way to help children understand why rules are needed, and to support the development of their self-regulation skills. In this video, public preschool teacher Jennifer Wolff describes how she engaged preschoolers in creating and then practicing new rules for using the slide after noticing some potentially dangerous behaviors on the playground. Jennifer reflects on how understanding the need for safe behavior helps children build community and empathy.

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  • Creating Rules for the Playground

    (This video has captions. You can turn them on by clicking the CC icon at the bottom of the video.)
    Download a printable transcript in English and Spanish.

    Jennifer Wolff, Preschool Teacher, Cook Hill Integrated Preschool: Developing classroom rules has been extremely important to me to incorporate the children to own the classroom, and own, you know, their environment. I think they need to understand how to keep themselves and each other safe. We also do classroom rules for outside.

    Jennifer: So we’re going to be practicing going on the slide. What are some—raise a quiet hand, if you know some important things about going on the slide.

    Jennifer Wolff: We talked about different rules for each area of the playground.

    Jennifer: Ella, what’s another rule?
    Child: One person can go at a time.
    Jennifer: Great.

    Jennifer Wolff: So the kids came up with the fact of only one child can go down the slide at a time. So we all lined up by the slide, and then we practiced that.

    Jennifer: Good job.

    Jennifer Wolff: When children do come up with the rules, or help to come up with the rules, they definitely own it a lot more.

    Jennifer: High five for being safe! High five for being safe!

    Jennifer Wolff: Well, those rules don’t just stay in the classroom. They understand that there are ways that they need to keep themselves safe, and keep one another safe. And it contributes to their caring for one another.

  • Producer: Terry Surprenant
    Editing and Videography: Sean Leser
    Script Consultation: Julia DeLapp

    The Center wishes to thank Cook Hill Integrated Preschool in Wallingford, Connecticut, for their cooperation in the making of this video.