The Lunch and Recess Committee meets the first Monday of every month in the Cafeteria after morning drop-off. All parents are welcome to attend the meetings at any time.
Our committee supports the efforts of the school staff to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all of our children at lunch and recess. We do regular playground maintenance (painting this year!), coordinate volunteers for the lunchroom, and hold the kindergarten orientation every year. We welcome all parents to join us and get involved in our committee.
PS3 Lunch and Recess Guidelines
At PS3, we are fortunate to have a vibrant, diverse, creative, and respectful community comprised of children, parents, staff, and friends. We strive to provide an atmosphere where our children feel respected, empowered, and safe. In order for this community to thrive, we recognize that this requires cooperation.
While volunteering at PS3, we ask all parents to think of every child in this school as their own child. We volunteer at PS3 to provide help and support to the staff so that they can be more successful in creating a safe and nurturing environment. Having volunteers in the building allows us all to give a lot of love and attention to our vibrant children.
How to be successful as a lunch and recess volunteer at PS3
- Learn the cafeteria & playground guidelines and help children follow them.
- Your role as a volunteer is to assist the staff and keep our children safe.
- Encourage children to share and play cooperatively and to speak to each other respectfully.
- Use positive language and focus on what you want the children to do. For example, “Please eat your food,” instead of “Stop fooling around,” or “Remember to go down the slide,” instead of “Don’t go up the slide.”
- Be proactive in helping children avoid unnecessary or aggressive conflict by remaining vigilant in watching the children and assessing their “play.” Help them to refocus their energy on another type of activity if you notice games getting aggressive or out of control.
- Keep moving around the cafeteria and playground, watching over and offering help to all the children. (Please do not sit at the table and eat lunch with your child or get so engrossed in conversation with children or adults that you are unaware of what is going on around you.)
- Do not use your cell phone, even just for texting.
- Parents can be placed in an uncomfortable and awkward position if they are placed in the role of the disciplinarian. You can stop inappropriate behavior, guide and encourage more appropriate behavior, but allow staff members to handle any discipline.
- If you witness a member of our community doing something inappropriate, such as playing on the staircase, running in the building, using disrespectful language, and you don’t feel comfortable talking to them yourself – speak to a staff member and ask for help. Don’t ignore it.
- Always model appropriate behavior. Violent, aggressive or bullying behavior, either verbal or physical, is not acceptable from children, volunteers, or staff. Please remember children are watching you and will model your actions.
Students’ Cafeteria Guidelines
The focus at lunchtime is nourishment, safety, respect, and friendship.
- Please remain in your seat throughout the lunch period.
- Please raise your hand to ask permission if you need to get up from your seat, to get water, a spork, more food, wash your hands or use the bathroom. You should not get up to go talk to another student.
- Please respect yourself, each other and your environment. You should speak respectfully to each other, to volunteers, and to staff members. You should work to keep the cafeteria clean and not throw food or dump food on the floor.
- Please use your “indoor voice”.
- You should eat your own food. You should remind your friends if they ask for your food, or offer their food, that no one is supposed to share their food.
- We expect you to clean up after yourself at the end of your lunch period.
- If you are throwing food, you will be asked to clean up your food and place it in the trash. If you are in Kindergarten or 1st grade, you will then be moved to “clear table” to finish the remainder of your lunch. If you are in 2nd grade or above, you will immediately be sent to the office.
- If you speak disrespectfully to another student or a staff member, you will immediately be sent to the office.
Further guidelines for volunteering in the cafeteria:
- Wash your hands upon entering the cafeteria in the washroom on the left.
- All children must be given a tray of food if they did not bring lunch from home.
- Help open milk containers, lunch boxes and packaged food (do not use your teeth!).
- Fill up water cups and distribute to children asking for it – this is primarily for K/1 students.
- Direct children who receive school lunches to walk to the line when their class is called to line up (no running in the cafeteria – it’s really dangerous).
- If needed, help hand out milk cartons to children who receive school lunch.
- Children should always be encouraged to take food from each section — entrée (meat/fish/pizza), the salad bar, fruit and milk.
- While children are getting food, it is helpful if a parent can be stationed at the salad bar to help children reach food.
- Make sure you keep circulating around the tables monitoring the children and offering support as needed. Try not to become so involved in a conversation with children or adults that you stop monitoring the children’s behavior and needs.
- Please help the lunch room staff clear the tables at the end of lunch and wipe them down. It is also helpful if parent volunteers sweep under each table at the end. The turnovers between lunches happen quickly, so please help as much as you can to clean up.
Students’ Playground Guidelines
We are lucky to have a playground for students to run and play during the day. In order to keep it safe and enjoyable for our community though, there are some safe play guidelines that our students are expected to follow. Parents, please remind your child of these so we can continue to have safe and fun recess time.
- Treat each other with kindness and respect. If there is a problem brewing, talk to either a recess staff member or a parent helper.
- No name calling.
- Please use the equipment safely:
- Keep the soccer and basketballs inside the ball areas. No dodgeball.
- Slide only down the slide with feet first, and one person at a time.
- Stay below the monkey bars — no climbing on top of them (they’re really high!)
- Monkey bars line starts away from Hudson Street.
- No play fighting. This includes pretend hitting and/or using pretend weapons.
- No piling on top of each other (even though it may seem fun, this is very dangerous for those at the bottom of the pile).
- No lying on the ground (this is dangerous because other students may accidentally run over you!).
- Ask an adult if you need to go inside to get a drink of water or to use the bathroom.
- If you are playing unsafely or treating others with disrespect, you will be given a time out for the rest of recess.
- And, this is very important — The whistle means: quiet, look and listen.
Further guidelines for volunteering at recess:
- Supervise all children and keep your eyes moving around the playground to observe all that is taking place. Proactive intervention before an activity gets out of control is often the most successful.
- Please accompany any child who needs to go to the nurse or send one partner you think is dependable.
- You are encouraged to organize and monitor games with the kids.
How Discipline is Handled
At PS3, all staff members strive to successfully, respectfully, and effectively deal with behavior and discipline on a one-to-one basis. Recess and lunchroom staff members and parent volunteers will work with the children to help them remember the above community guidelines.
But, after the 2nd week of school, in order to maintain the safety and enjoyment of all students, after receiving a personal warning, if a student continues behavior that is not inline with the guidelines, the staff will discipline the student. The aim of the discipline is not to be punitive, but instead to make an impression that helps to remind the student of the guidelines of the community, in the expectation that they will modify their behavior for the future.
Unless it is absolutely necessary, the recess and lunchroom staff will refrain from punishing or disciplining an entire class or the entire lunchroom/recess group. At times when the behavior of a student, or a group of students, has been excessively out-of-line during lunchtime, some of their recess time may be taken up by working through the unacceptable behavior and the consequences of it with a staff member. We understand the need for recess and the importance of it for children, not only as it relates to physical wellness, but also as it relates to mental wellness. Therefore, we aim for students to maintain their recess privileges as much as possible.
We want our students to be able to eat their lunch in a calm setting, and every effort is taken to ensure this. Lunch and recess can be chaotic. If we all understand the guidelines and community expectations and then reinforce them with our children though, our children will have a successful and happy lunch and recess and enter the second half of their day with good energy and focus. Our community’s aim is to set students up for success, treat them with respect, and provide a safe and nurturing environment.