ESD 112 Insurance Programs Focus on Risk


Knowledgeable and attentive supervision on the playground can help ensure safety and reduce injuries. The work of a playground supervisor is to enhance play opportunities and restrict behaviors that prevent children from productive, safe, play experiences. Improper or lack of proper supervision can negatively impact not only children’s safety, but also their play experiences. A well-prepared play supervisor should know how to promote healthy, active, challenging play without compromising safety.

Educating playground supervisors about play, playground injuries, environmental and behavioral considerations and/or hazards, and the playground supervisor’s role are critical for promoting safer and more meaningful play. Schools are encouraged to embrace the playground as an important asset and to strive to minimize risk by focusing efforts on preparing playground supervisors, maintaining safer play environments, and adopting playground policies and procedures that continuously improve the overall quality of the children’s experiences

Proper supervision of students on the playground is important. Inadequate supervision is often alleged as a contributing factor to student injury and harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) incidents. Playground supervisors are typically the first to notice hazardous playground conditions. They can be the first line of defense in keeping our playgrounds and students safe.

Take a moment to review your playground supervision program and consider the following questions:

1. Does your district provide training to playground supervisors? Does that training include:
  • Principals of Active Supervision
  • Conflict resolution and de-escalation
  • How to identify and report equipment defects or hazards
  • Controlling the play environment
  • Proper playground positioning so that all children are always supervised
  • Procedures for student discipline
  • Responding appropriately to emergencies
2. Does your district have clearly documented duties for playground supervisors?
3. Does the district have written playground rules, including:
  • Rules that promote positive behaviors
  • Rules that are specific to the equipment
  • A requirement that students are trained on the playground rules at least once a year
4. Does the district have a procedure in place for handling emergency situations while the playground is being utilized, including:
  • Practicing the emergency procedures
  • A means for the outdoor staff to communicate with indoor staff and with first responders
5. Does your district require playground supervisors to be trained in CPR and First Aid?

If you answered "no" to any of the above questions or want to learn more, please see the resources below or reach out to your ESD 112 Insurance Programs Safety and Risk contact. Your ESD 112 Risk Management staff can also assist you with training your playground staff.


School Playground Safety Guidelines: Safety Resources – ESD 112
Safety Talks for Playground Staff: Safety Resources – ESD 112
Playground Supervision Guide: Playground Supervision (
CPSC Public Playground Safety Handbook: Public Playground Safety (
National Program for Playground Safety: NPPS Playground Supervision
WSRMP Guidance: Playground Supervision
WSRMP Guidance: Playground Rules & Games
Vector Solutions (SafeSchools) Training Course on Playground Supervision: SafeSchools (Vector Solutions) – ESD 112
Vector Solutions (SafeSchools) Training Course on Playground Maintenance and Inspection: SafeSchools (Vector Solutions) – ESD 112
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