Before beginning the program, it is important to stop and observe the recess environment and students' recess experience in order to identify what's 'right' as well as what might need to be modified in order to make improvements. Every school and even grade level within a school might have different challenges and needs.
Action step: This observation can be completed in a short amount of time (~20 min.) by a skilled occupational therapist or other school personnel who have the ability to tune into the physical, social-emotional, and sensory aspects of the environment – each of which can influence the recess experience in a positive or negative way.
The Recess Environmental Scan involves observing the physical (playground, recess areas), sensory (auditory, visual, movement) and social-emotional aspects of the recess experience. Determine whether there are characteristics of the existing recess environment that contribute to successful participation and enjoyment for all students. Determine what might limit participation and enjoyment. Consider what may need to be modified or changed both in terms of procedures (i.e. transitioning to and from recess) as well as environmental modifications (availability of attractive play materials, supervisor interactions with students,.etc).
Summarize observations. Think about strategies for improvement.