Click Here to Sign Up for a Noon Duty Shift
Noontime Recess Volunteer Guide
The primary purpose of noontime supervisors, paid and volunteer, is for the safety and support of students. Volunteers supervise in an effort to prevent accidents from happening and to respond to them when they do. They also provide student support by providing basic conflict resolution for minor conflicts between students, resolving game rules disputes, as well as providing support and encouragement for the students that do not appear to be engaging in play with others.
Your assistance as a volunteer for noontime lunch/recess is a critical component of a smoothly operating and safe recess. All volunteers must have volunteer clearance through the school district's volunteer management program. Volunteers may sign up to cover shifts as many shifts as they like, as frequently or infrequently as they wish. Use the Sign Up Genius links below to sign up for shifts:
1st Grade Sign Up Genius:
2nd/3rd Grade Sign Up Genius:
4th/5th Grade Sign Up Genius:
For safety reasons, younger siblings are not allowed to accompany volunteers for playground duty. However, there are many parents that have kindergarten siblings that would like to volunteer for older grades noontime duty. Some parents have found it a win/win to find other parents with kindergarten siblings and trade off playdates / yard duty.
When you arrive for your volunteer duty (10 minutes prior to scheduled shift), go to the office, sign in as a volunteer, get a volunteer badge, and from underneath the sign in desk, grab a red first aide fanny pack, and either a YELLOW or ORANGE safety vest. (We are trying to coordinate safety vest colors so that it is easier for the students to differentiate between the staff noontime supervisors and the volunteers.) Once you have signed in and gathered your supplies, report to the MU Room where one of the staff noontime supervisors will direct you to where they’d like you to begin your shift.
The school relies on its noontime volunteers to offer the safest and smoothest running recess and lunch period for the students. If you can not attend a shift that you are signed up for, please do the following to find a replacement for your shift:
- Refer to the substitute list for your grade found here:
- Email potential substitutes to find someone to either take your shift or swap a shift with you.
- Coordinate with your substitute to either swap shifts with them on the Sign Up Genius OR delete your sign up and have them add their name. This way, the daily noontime staff will have an up to date reference of who to expect for duty.
Please note: Last year (2015/2016) there were frequent episodes of volunteers simply deleting their sign up on the Sign Up Genius and NOT trying to find a replacement for themselves. This is a hardship on the other volunteers and noontime staff who are depending on a certain number of volunteers per shift. Out of respect for the staff and fellow parent volunteers, please follow the substitute process. Your cooperation is appreciated.
New as of last year, NURSE PASSES! In prior years, there has always been such an abundance of students who claim they need to go to the nurse’s office. Often, the students have very creative reasons why they need to go. In particular, volume can be very high on hot days, where the number one request once students arrive to the nurse’s office is …. Ice! Unfortunately, the ‘creative’ injuries and requests take away from the nurse’s and office staff’s ability to assist the people with more serious injuries. When a child reports an injury to you, you will assess the situation which may fall into one of the following four categories:
Just Need Support
Often a student can recover with a bit of emotional support by you. You will assess the situation and injury and determine whether this is something that can be resolved with some kind words from you, encouragement to get a drink of water and suggestion to go back out to play.
Very Minor Injury
If you assess that an injury is more serious (a bump or scrape), you will issue a blue “Nurses Pass”, and find a buddy to escort the injured child to the office. There are also bandaids and antibacterial wipes in your fanny pack that you can use if an injury is very slight.
If the injury is still of a minor nature, but a child is bleeding or is crying, you should personally escort them to the office. In this case, they do not need a Nurse Pass.
Potentially Serious Issue
If a child appears to have a more serious injury such as a suspected bad sprain, broken bone, head, neck or back injury, leave the child where they are. If possible, protect them from the sun. Immediately notify a staff noontime supervisor who will radio the office and together they will determine the next course of action (e.g. notify 911, parents, provide a wheelchair, etc.)
If you see a child eating alone or hanging out by himself on the playground, please do your best to engage that child and help him to connect with another student, a group of students or an activity. Sometimes children have trouble initiating/ engaging in a group or activity but are just fine once they have had a gentle nudge to participate.
You may experience different instances of needing to provide conflict resolution between students. Please make your best effort to calmly get all sides of the story. If possible, encourage the students to resolve their own issue by facilitating a solution. For example, after listening to both sides of the story, ask, “how would you two propose that this be resolved?” and often the children will suggest a mutually agreeable resolution. If they do not, then you can coach them on what they both need to do to get past the issue, and back out to play. For any situation, always feel comfortable involving a staff noontime supervisor.
For slightly heated situations (they are too riled up to have a rational discussion) between students that do not involve threats, dangerous play or physical aggression, often a two or three minute “reset” (a.k.a. timeout) is sufficient. Direct the student to take a 2 minute “reset” and that afterwards you can discuss what needs to be done to release them back out to the playground. If you need assistance with a situation, always feel comfortable summoning a staff noontime supervisor to help with or take over a situation. Sometimes, you may determine that one or both of the students behaved in a way that requires discipline.
Certain situations will require that a staff noontime supervisor fill out a “Rancho Romero Discipline Form” which can be found in your red fanny pack. The situations listed on the form are: ‘disrespectful’, ‘inappropriate language’, ‘roughness/fighting’, ‘disrespecting school property’, ‘unkind’ and ‘other’. If you witness or are aware of any of these situations, seek out a staff noontime supervisor and describe how you attempted to resolve the issue. The staff noontime supervisor will fill out the Discipline Form and give a copy to the school Principal and a copy to the student’s teacher.
SERIOUS situations are any situation that involves threatening a student or group of students, physical aggression or dangerous play. These serious situations always need immediate intervention. Rancho Romero has specific protocols for the handling of these situations that need to be fully followed. Your role in this process is critical. Once you have intervened to separate the parties involved to create a safety net or once you stop the dangerous behavior, immediately contact a staff noontime supervisor who will gather further information from you. Rancho’s Principal will be called upon to investigate the situation and provide the best course of action.
Just as Rancho Romero’s teachers and staff have protocol around student privacy and confidentiality, Rancho volunteers are asked to honor student confidentiality, as well. As an adult noontime supervisor who witnesses and assists with a disciplinary situation, you are a critical credible source of information. Please, however, do not discuss disciplinary situations or investigations with other parents. It is especially important in the event that a threatening or dangerous situation is being investigated. When parents discuss the situation with other parents, it can compromise and undermine the objective investigation process that Rancho’s Principal must honor for all the parties involved.
Organized Noontime Sports
One-on-One Sports (an outside noontime sports vendor) began on Tuesday, September 8th. Each Tuesday and Thursday for the next five weeks, One-on-One Sports will facilitate soccer. Students do not need to sign up, they simply go over to the soccer area and play. On Friday, One-on-One Sports facilitates another sport, at the children’s request.
Each Wednesday, a parent volunteer, Allison Vrankovich, organizes a structured kickball game in the Northeast baseball diamond that is open to any child who wants to participate.
Playground Supervision Coverage
On days when the baseball diamond is available, students are allowed to form their own kickball game. If there are enough noontime volunteers to have someone supervise the baseball diamond, that is ideal. Please work with the staff noontime supervisor to determine the best place for you to station yourself. The basketball courts, gaga courts and play structures are all areas that benefit by close supervision.
On rainy days, report to the MU room when you arrive. Students will go to their classrooms after they eat. The teachers are on their break and may or may not be in their classrooms. Students may play quiet games or watch a video, if one is playing. Students may not use school computers or ipads during this time and per school rules, personal electronic devices are never allowed. Personal electronic devices used during school hours are confiscated and turned in to the teacher or office.
Please check your fanny pack to ensure that it contains all supplies. If it does not, please notify office staff. Contents should include:
Nurse passes, Bandaids, antibacterial pads, Colored playground rules cards, Rancho Romero Discipline Forms, Pencil
Fourth and Fifth graders are offered the opportunity to sign up for the Recess Assistant Program. They will be identifiable by a neon safety vest and are tasked with playing games with the first graders and sometimes helping to mediate games rules.
- Children are to be respectful and kind to one another and to the adult supervisors. They need to take responsibility for the care of themselves, property and our campus, too.
- Students are to obey yard supervisors and others in authority.
- Children are to behave in such a manner that will prevent injury to others and to themselves. Inappropriate behavior can result in suspension.
- No fighting is allowed. Children are encouraged to utilize Conflict Resolution methods to resolve problems.
- Students are to be in designated areas only; bathrooms and courtyards are not considered play areas.
- Children are to stay on the playground unless a person on the school staff gives them permission to leave.
- Students are to use all equipment safely and appropriately.
- Inappropriate language is not permitted.
- Tackle football or rough play that endangers others is not allowed.
- No hitting or kicking of other students. Keep your hands & feet to yourself.
- No playing in the ditch, behind the baseball backstops or in any area that is hidden from the vision of the playground area. No going in the bathroom located behind the play structure on the Upper Yard.
- No ball kicking on the blacktop area. Ball kicking is permitted on the grass area in an organized game that is designated for kickball, three flies up, etc.
- No hanging on tree branches or the basketball hoops.
- No students should be excluded from a game for the entire recess. Some games have maximum number of players such as GaGa and basketball. However, there should be a rotation in place for everyone to have a chance to play.
- No balls/equipment should be brought from home to school.
- No students are to play football unless it is during P.E. class or Intramural Lunch Sports.
- No running in walkways/hallways.
- No loitering in hallways or courtyards during recess time.
- No balls are to be hit against CLASSROOM/BUILDING WALLS.
- Food is to be eaten in designated areas only.
- No gum or candy is to be brought or eaten at school.
- Slides: Only one student on a slide and ladder at a time. Students may only sit on their bottoms when using the slide in a downward direction. No climbing UP the slide!
- Monkey bars, rings and pull-up bars: You many hang by your hands only! No hanging/flipping upside down, spinning around the bars, jumping from one bar to another or sitting on top of bars.
- Play Structure Area: No running, playing tag or pretend fighting/shooting. No climbing on the outside of the rails. No balls allowed in the area. No jumping on the bridge (upper yard).
SWING SET RULES (upper yard only):
- One person on a swing at a time. You must hold onto chains with BOTH hands!
- The person waiting next in line sits on the cement border and counts slowly to 120 before having a turn on the swing.
- No standing or walking through the tan bark area while others are swinging.
- No climbing on the poles.
- No standing on the swings, laying on your stomach (Superman) or back and swinging.
- No jumping or flipping off of the swings.
- No pushing other students on the swings.
- No running under the swings.
- No throwing balls at students on the swings.
- No kicking balls while on the swings.
- No holding hands on the swings.
- No twisting the chains on the swings.
- No swinging sideways or bumping into others who are swinging.
- No saving swings for other students.
These suggestions will help children learn the rules to common games played at recess during school. They will also help children understand the social skills of being a good sport. Knowing the rules and being a good sport are equally important for children during play. When children know the rules and play cooperatively, friendships can develop. Play skills improve with motivation and repeated practice (e.g., weekly play dates with classmates, friends or relatives; practicing these skills at home, in the park or community).
Sometimes children have trouble agreeing who should start the game first. This can be easily and fairly decided by chance. Some examples of chance are:
- Rock-paper-scissors or any game like it.
- Flipping a coin and guessing heads or tails.
- Writing a number from 1-10 on a piece of paper and having the children guess the number; the closest guessed number goes first.
How to be a good sport:
- Be positive
- Be honest and avoid lying
- Play fair and avoid cheating
- Play by the agreed upon rules
- Cooperate with others
- Try your best
- Use words to resolve conflicts. Yelling, name-calling, put downs, shoving or hitting are hurtful actions. If you need more help, find an adult.
- Be a gracious winner (e.g., say “Thanks for playing with me.”)
- Be a graceful loser (e.g., say “Good game.”)
- If you are a good sport, you and the other children will have fun playing together.
- If you are a poor sport, other children won’t want to play with you. They might think that you are trying to cheat to win or are mean or angry.
- Remember, it’s only a game. The most important thing is that everyone has fun!
There are a myriad of playground games and activities in which the students participate that have written rules. They include Spider, Basketball, Playstructure, Swingset, Handball, Foursquare, Gaga, and Tetherball. Some of these games invite more debate than others with respect to the rules and often the noontime volunteers are called upon to mediate a rules dispute. Inside your red first aide fanny pack are colored rules reference cards for each game, however, you are encouraged to review the rules (especially handball and gaga) prior to volunteering. Please note that handball and basketball games are divided by grade. For example, during second and third grade recess, second graders play these sports with other second graders, third graders play these sports with third graders – no exceptions. Courts are predesignated for each grade. All other sports allow for combined grades to participate.
In addition to rules for organized activities, there are also overall playground rules which are printed on a light blue card. Please review these rules prior to volunteering.
- Four people play with a ball in the four square area.
- The player in the service square always serves and must have one foot in the box while serving.
- The ball is served by dropping and hitting it underhand after the bounce to another square.
- There are 2nd serves when the server hits the ball out of bounds.
- The player receiving the serve hits the ball after the bounce to another square.
- Play continues until someone hits the ball out of bounds.
- No overhand hits.
- No slam, smash or spin serves.
- No catching, carrying, holding or throwing the ball. The ball must be struck.
- The ball may only bounce once and players may only hit the ball one time (no double hits).
- All lines are “inbounds”.
- Players may hit the ball one-handed
- The object of the game is to not hit the ball out of the court or make any fouls. The most skillful or lucky player wins each round and remains in square D for as long as possible.
- Ga Ga is played with 2-20 children in the Ga Ga Court.
- The game is started with all players having their heels and hands against the wall.
- The ball is served by tossing it in the air and saying, “Ga Ga Ga”.
- A player gets another person out when she/he hits their body with the ball BELOW the knees.
- The first person in line or first person out becomes the GATE. There is only ONE gate!
- Once you are out of the game, you must exit the court and line-up again.
- If a disagreement occurs, take a vote and the majority decides what happens.
- No playing until the end. When there are 3 players left, a count down from 30 starts.
- No lifties. Hitting the ball on the 3rd board or over the wall is not allowed.
- No double touches. The ball must hit the wall or a player before hitting the ball again.
- No tea parties. Players may hit the ball two times consecutively against the wall and then must try to hit a player.
- No fists. The game is played by striking the ball with one or two open hands.
- No touching the ground with any part of your body other than your hands or feet.
- No using the wall to jump.
- No jumping over the wall to enter or exit the GaGa Court.
- No chanting or name calling.
- No teams or ganging up on players.
- No kicking the ball.
- No touching other players or throwing the ball at a player.
- No squatting or “mini-me’s” next to the wall. You must be in the middle to squat down.
- No “Ghost’ players. When you are out, you must exit the court immediately.
- NO SITTING ON THE WALL!
- The object of the game is to hit the ball more skillfully than the other player, so that the other player cannot get the ball or hits it out of bounds.
- The ball is good only if it bounces inside the court. Lines are OUT!
- If there is a disagreement about whether the ball bounced in or out of the court, the majority of the students waiting in line will decide the call.
- Double or single fist hits are ok.
- Oreo’s, Waterfalls & Crackies are allowed.
- Players in line may not enter the court at any time.
- Player One (winner) serves the ball to start the game. You must stand behind the white line on the court.
- Player Two (new player) may choose UP TO two special rules from the list below:
- Back courts – the ball can bounce outside the end line. Not allowed on serves or middle 4th/5th grade courts.
- Cherry Bombs – players may catch the ball and throw it with a bounce at the wall.
- Lemon Heads – hit the ball with your head.
- Rainbows – run under the ball instead of hitting it. Counts as your hit.
- Birdies – dribble the ball before hitting it. 10 second maximum.
- Bubbles/Dots – hitting the ball in the air, letting it bounce once and then hitting it against the wall.
- These ARE NOT ALLOWED:
- No Pink/Blue Elephants – walking along the wall and trying not to get hit by the ball.
- No Black/White Elephants-running to the wall with the ball
- No Dragons – double hits
- No standing or entering the court.
- No interfering with the ball at any time!
- No making up any other rules than those listed.
- Upper Yard: Winners stay!
- Lower Yard: TWO-IN and TWO-OUT rule!
- Two teams play with one Nerf ball within the kickball square.
- There are 4 bases (e.g., 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and home base).
- There is one pitcher for each team. The pitcher stands in the middle of the square and rolls the ball toward home base so that the player can kick the ball.
- After the player kicks the ball, she/he runs to first base as fast as she/he can run.
- The kicker must kick the ball at home plate – not past it or they are out.
- If the 1st base person can catch the ball and tag the runner before she/he touches the base, then the runner is out. If the base person cannot tag the runner with the ball, then the kicker is safe. The player runs to the next base, when her/his teammate kicks the ball. If the ball is caught, the runner must go back to the base she/he came from.
- The object of the game is to get as many runs as possible. The winner of the game is the team that has the most runs.
- Play continues until there are 3 outs, and then it is the next team’s turn to kick.
- If the other team catches the ball after a ball is kicked, the player is out. More than 1 out can occur at a time (e.g., two people could be tagged running to two different bases).
- If a ball is kicked outside of the kickball square, the kick is considered a foul and the ball is pitched again.
- The teams determine how long the game will last (e.g., until the recess bell rings, number of innings, runs scored or amount of time).
- Player One (winner) is the server.
- Player Two (new player) chooses side and direction.
- As the ball is hit back and forth with open hands or fists, each player tries to hit it so the rope winds completely around the pole in the direction in which she/he is hitting the ball.
- Players may do two bubbles (hitting the ball to themselves) before hitting the ball.
- No hitting the ball with any part of the body other than the hands or forearms.
- No catching or holding the ball during play.
- No touching or using the pole to jump.
- No hitting the rope with the forearms or hands.
- No grabbing the rope and throwing the ball even on the serve.
- No hanging on the rope or ball.
- No KICKING the ball.
- Upper Yard: Winner stays.
- Lower Yard: Two In-Two Out.
- The object of the game is for the “Corners” to switch places five times before the “Spider” gets to one of their spots.
- There are FOUR students standing on the “Corners” of a four square playing area and the “Spider” stands in the middle.
- If 5 switches happen, then the Spider goes to the end of the line and the next person in line becomes the new Spider.
- If the Spider gets to a corner spot first while a switch is occurring, then the Corner goes to the end of the line and the next person in line becomes the new Spider.
- If a Corner and a Spider go for the same spot and there is a tie, the tie goes to the Spider.
- If two Corners go for the same spot and there is a tie, then the two players do Rock, Paper, Scissors ONE time to decide who stays.
- Switches must occur every 30 seconds, otherwise all corners are OUT.
- Cross Country switches are when two Corners diagonally switch places. This counts for 2 of the 5 switches because it is much harder to do.
- The Spider may call ONE Scramble per game maximum – all corners must change places.
- No switching corners when disagreements are happening. All players must be ready before switching!
- No calling “NEW” Court or making up rules.
- No Cow Shoves – the Spider or Corner try to shove someone off their spot.
- No Bear Hugs – hugging a Corner and moving them off their space.
- At 8:15am and 10:45am Recess, mini hoops are for 3rd (closest to grass) and 4th graders (closest to handball courts). 5th graders must play on the higher hoops.
- At Lunch & 2:10pm Recess each grade level may play on one set of mini hoops.
- No pushing, physical or aggressive play.
- No showing off/show boating allowed.
- No ball hogging. All players must have a chance to touch the ball.
- No kicking or throwing the ball in anger or a disagreement.
- No hanging or grabbing onto net or rim.
- No more than 7 players on a team.
- If there is a student acting as the REF, they have the final say.
- If a player is fouled, they get one free-throw and it is worth 2 points.
- Girls must be allowed to play.
- Team captains will choose FAIR, EQUITABLE teams. 7 players maximum.