The Problem of Bullying at Recess

In recent years, cases of bullying at recess have increased. Here, we'll explain more about this problem that many kids experience every day.
The Problem of Bullying at Recess

Last update: 06 July, 2020

Bullying is a problem that can happen in any area of a school. It’s important to have all areas of the campus controlled, including the playground, since bullying at recess is very common.

Don’t forget that the playground is an educational space. In fact, it’s as important or more important than the classroom. Here, kids interact in a playful way with their peers during a significant part of the school day.

The problem of bullying at recess

The classroom and playground are the places where violent acts usually take place. In fact, a study carried out in Spain by the ANAR Foundation and the Mutua Madrileña Foundation showed that the number of  bullying cases in the classroom and at recess have gone up in recent years. 

The Problem of Bullying at Recess

In addition, on the playground of any school, you’ll see kids sitting alone. I t’s also common to see kids playing close to the teacher during recess. In these situations, you can suspect that the child is being bullied.

So, it’s very important to work to prevent bullying. It’s best to promote getting along and positive social relationships among students.

Organizing the playground to prevent bullying

To prevent bullying at recess, you have to organize the playground with guided activities. Then, teachers should create games for all students to participate. This type of activity during recess helps promote the development of:

Now, the playground can become a place of positive relationships, with supervision and cooperative games. This way, you can avoid isolating some students that normally wouldn’t play with others.

In this sense, you should try doing these types of activities:

  • Different types of sports
  • Group games

As we mentioned, recess should be supervised by teaching staff. In addition to monitoring sports and games, they also help set the tone for the group.

The Problem of Bullying at Recess

Other activities to guide recess

You can also do other activities that help kids learn, as well as embrace diversityFor example, you can make an obstacle course where kids have to go blindfolded, move in a wheelchair, communicate using sign language, etc.

At first, the kids should do it alone. The second time, they can ask their peers for help. This way, the students learn the importance of support to overcome obstacles and limitations. Additionally, they learn to work together and not exclude kids because they’re different.

You could also do activities that involve families. For example, you could have your students ask their parents about the games they used to play as kids. Then, each child needs to choose one, and all of the kids play one of these games.

As for organizing these activities, it’s best to divide the kids by age. However, it all depends on the characteristics of your school and the number of students, the space available, etc.

No matter the structure, the most important thing is to create a safe and directed recess that teaches kids about getting along and cooperating, without leaving anyone out. This way, you can reduce bullying at recess.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Burción, S. (2015). El recreo libre y el recreo dirigido. Comparación de conductas del alumnado para la mejora de la convivencia. (Trabajo de Fin de Grado). Universidad de Valladolid, España.
  • Cerezo, F. (2009). Bullying: análisis de la situación en las aulas españolas. Revista Internacional de Psicología y Terapia Psicológica9(3), 383-394.
  • FEVAS Plena Inclusión. (2010). Guía de materiales para la inclusión educativa: discapacidad intelectual y del desarrollo. Educación Primaria. Bilbao: Federación Vasca de Asociaciones en favor a las personas con discapacidad intelectual.
  • Fundación ANAR y Fundación Mutua Madrileña. (2018). Acoso Escolar: III estudio sobre el bullying según los afectados y líneas de actuación. Informe del teléfono ANAR.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.