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Lunch/Recess Guidelines


2019-2020 Lunch/Recess Guidelines for Parent Volunteers

Thank you for volunteering at BHES! Please carefully review the following information. It’s important that you understand the philosophies and rules that BHES staff members follow to ensure our students have a safe and positive experience. If you have questions, please contact Lunch/Recess Volunteer Coordinator Jen Gaum at pretzel1970@verizon.net or Juliet Hoopes at jspagliardi@yahoo.com.

MCPS requires that ALL volunteers who work with children participate in an online training on Child Abuse and Neglect. Volunteers must complete the training before they can volunteer in the school. Volunteers must provide this confirmation to BHES in order to be allowed to volunteer. You can access the online training here: https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/childabuseandneglect/

To volunteer at lunch and/or recess, please use the link below to sign-up.

Lunch Hours: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (Early Dismissal Lunch Hours: 10:45 a.m. – 12:25 p.m.)

Recess Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 


  • Confidentiality —As with all volunteering at school, please don’t share any information or experiences from your shift with other parents or students. If you have any concerns, please email or call your teacher or the school administration. 

  • Safety—If a child is concerned about his/her personal safety or you see or hear anything that could compromise the safety of the children (e.g., strangers on the playground or in the school), notify an aide or administrator immediately. 

  • Discipline—Although you should put a stop to dangerous or inappropriate behavior, please do not discipline, i.e., give consequences. If you witness verbal or physical bullying, behavior that is dangerous (to self and/or others), unwillingness to follow the rules, or anything else of concern, put a stop to the behavior or situation in question and inform the nearest administrator or aide immediately. 

  • Fairness—You are not at the school for only your own child but for the benefit of all the students. 
    Therefore, you should treat each and every student equally. 

  • Injury—If a child falls and is lying on the ground, do not move him/her. Get help from a staff member immediately. 

  • Positive Reinforcement—Your attitude and actions on the playground and in the lunchroom can affect how children feel about school and about themselves. Be authoritative, but gentle, constructive and positive. 

  • First Steps—Arrive 5 to 10 minutes before your scheduled shift to sign in at the main office, record your hours in the volunteer notebook and get a blue smock from cabinet in the lunchroom. Both lunch and recess volunteers wear the blue smocks. The blue smock is important to wear since it helps us distinguish volunteers from strangers.
  • MPORTANT: What To Do If You Can't Volunteer on Your Scheduled DayIf you know in advance you cannot make your scheduled shift, please email the group of volunteers and ask if anyone can switch shifts or substitute for you. Then, once you've gotten coverage for your shift, please email Lunch/Recess Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Mantelmacher at stephanie@mantelmacher.com to let her know of the schedule change. If you find you can’t make your shift at the last minute, please first try to find another scheduled volunteer to switch or cover for you by emailing the group as soon as you find you you can't be there. If you're unable to find someone to cover your shift, please email Susan.


Remember to reinforce basic lunchroom rules:

  • Use indoor voices
  • Do not share food 
  • Clean up after yourself 
  • Wait until you have permission before leaving your seat 
  • Observe the signal for quiet 
  • Raise your hand when you need something 
  • Do not take food outside of lunchroom; leftover items should be thrown out or stored in lunch boxes (including bottled drinks)

  • Accompanying Students to Classrooms—Students may not go back to their classroom without an adult. You may be asked to take a student to get his/her lunch box or a jacket. 

  • Snack Rules—Snack items like crackers, yogurt, cheese sticks and ice cream are sold in the cafeteria. Any students buying snack should do so at the start of lunch by getting in line with those who are buying hot lunch. The following rules apply to snack purchases:

    • Kindergarteners are not permitted to buy snacks, but may buy a drink like milk, juice or water 
    • Students in grades 1-5 are permitted to buy one snack a day 
    • Since snack purchasers should go through the cafeteria line at the start of lunch, they may not be dismissed to go back to the cafeteria for a snack

  • Restroom Visits—You may give students permission to go to the restroom during lunch. The following rules apply:

    • Encourage children to finish their lunches first 
    • Use the circular lights to monitor the amount of students going to the restroom at the same time; there are three lights for boys, and three lights for the girls.
    • Refrain from sending students to the restroom as their classes are lining up 

  • Water—You may give permission to a child to fill his/her own water bottle or cup at the water dispenser in the lunchroom.

  • Recycling and Trash—Please help the children dispose of their trash and recyclables in the proper containers. Children pore liquids out into a trash container and recycle bottles and juice/milk boxes. Students may also recycle other plastic containers. Trays are stacked on top of the trash containers and then put in the trash as a stack.

  • Dismissal—Please help make dismissal from the lunchroom run smoothly. You may be asked to accompany children to the playground for recess or to a classroom. In addition, since children are exiting down the gym stairs, you might be asked to monitor students at the staircase.

    • Monitor lines to ensure that all children arrive at the desired destination before returning to your location 
    • Keep your group as orderly as possible when moving to and from recess or going to and from a classroom 
    • Be mindful of the time and work to maintain the schedule in the lunchroom. It is critical that students leave and enter promptly 


Check in with one of the staff recess aides (usually Mrs. Terri Brooks, Mrs. Patricia Donner, Mrs. Tina Carmichael and Ms. Jennifer Knighten) to find out which area you should cover. The rules for where students may play are as follows:
  • Students may play in the fields as long as an aide or volunteer is there
  • Kindergarteners play in the small playground area only until such time the recess aides feel it appropriate to expand their play options
  • First graders may play in the small playground if kindergarteners are not there
  • Students should stay off the grass except for the field and refrain from going near flowers and bushes
  • When on the field, students must stay within the fenced-in area and must stay in front of the large trees on the far side of the field
You may need to move around during your shift based on where the aides are located. The goal is to have at least one adult supervising each area, including the small playground, large playground, blacktops, and field.
  • Stay Alert and Avoid Phone Use—Avoid checking your phone, email and chatting with other parents while on duty so you can keep your eyes on the children.

  • Bathroom Visits—Please help manage bathroom visits by students.
    • Use clothespins to monitor the number of students going to the restroom at the same time; keep a few clothespins with you and get them back from the students (no student should go to the restroom without a clothespin) 

  • Water—You may give permission to a child to go inside to use the water fountains by the bathrooms.

  • Injuries/Nurse Visits—Please assist any child who is not feeling well or is hurt by doing the following:

    • If a child doesn’t feel well or has a minor injury, walk him/her to the nearest aide who will take the child to the nurse or ask you to accompany the child 
    • All nurse visits should go inside through the door with the camera so the office can see who is coming 
    • If a child is hurt and lying on the ground, do not move him/her. Stay with the student and ask a responsible nearby student to get an aide to help 
    • Under all circumstances, remain calm and do not share with students what might be wrong 

  • Indoor Recess—You should come to school regardless of whether recess is indoors or outdoors. If recess is indoors, you will help escort the children to their indoor recess classrooms and remain there until the recess aides arrive. Or your help may be needed in the lunchroom.


  • Monitor for Safe Play—While supervising recess, you are like a “lifeguard.” Attempt to anticipate potential issues (see lists of Acceptable Play and Unacceptable Play). If students are engaging in unacceptable play, ask them to stop and remind them of the rules. If a child is trying a task that is too difficult for his/her size or age, help the child or ask him/her to try something else. If students will not follow your directions, ask an aide to help. Jump ropes should never be used on the playground equipment or be tied to students. Orange safety cones are not play equipment and should not be part of play. Sticks used in ball games are not to leave the ball playing area.
  • Facilitate Inclusive Play—When a child is looking for something to do or has been told by other children that he/she can't play with them, please support and encourage the child to find activities he/she would like. Remind all the children that everyone is welcome to play. 

  • Help Resolve Conflicts—Encourage and coach conflict resolution steps when students disagree. 
Students are encouraged to follow the DEBUGGING steps below in order to solve their own problems.
    1. Ignore 
    2. Move away 
    3. Talk nicely - “I” message (Use Your Words) 
    4. Talk firmly 
    5. Get ADULT Help 
When a student comes to you about a conflict with another child, walk them through the DEBUG steps. Be mindful that ignoring isn’t always the best course of action. These steps do not help students that might be experiencing teasing or something approaching bullying. If you are unsure, ask an aide to assist you.

Lead Students in Age-appropriate Games—Young children may find it difficult to initiate games or figure out the rules. You can help them organize games like Duck, Duck, Goose, Snake in the Grass, Red Light, Green Light, etc.

Oversee Ball Games—Since supervision is your primary role, you should not referee games or play with the children. However, you should keep an eye on games such as soccer, basketball and kickball to make sure children are playing fairly and safely. If children are not playing appropriately (e.g., tackling, fighting over the rules, etc.), tell them to stop playing, remind them of the rules, and ask an aide to help if needed.

Maintain a Safe Environment—Remove any sharp or potentially dangerous objects found on the playground, such as stones, metal cans or glass. Do not ask children to pick up and remove such items. If the object is large, notify school administration and keep children away from it.

Report things like bees’ nests, large ground holes or damaged playground equipment to the school administration.

Help at Dismissal—Help aides gather students when it is time for line up and ask students to pick up balls and other equipment.


All students at recess should be aware of and abide by the following rules as well as engage in what’s deemed “Acceptable Play”:
  • Demonstrate the BHES Pillars of Ethics: Respect, Responsibility, Caring and Empathy, Cooperation, Honesty, Fairness and Moral Courage

  • Remain outside the entire recess period, unless permission is given to go inside

  • Stay within playground boundaries and refrain from going close to the fence. Do not go around fence to retrieve balls. Do not play near school building windows

  • Do not use climbing equipment when it’s wet or icy

  • Take turns on climbing equipment and slides

  • Use conflict resolution steps to resolve disagreements (see DEBUGGING strategies on previous page). Request help from aides for support with conflict resolution

  • Follow adult directions the first time asked

  • Promptly line up when a staff member blows the whistle and put away any equipment

  • Do not approach or play with neighborhood pets 


  • Blacktop games like four square, hopscotch, jump rope, volleyball or other net games

  • Games on the field like soccer, relay races, kickball, field hockey (with padded sticks), Frisbee

  • Using climbing equipment the way it is intended to be used

  • Basketball

  • Tetherball

  • Playing tag or chase without tackling or pushing

  • Reading, talking with friends

  • Drawing with chalk on black top or sidewalk 


  • Playing football, baseball, softball, dodge ball or ultimate Frisbee with tackling 

  • Kickball on the blacktop (allowed on field only) 

  • Gymnastics (backbends, handstands, etc.). Cartwheels are allowed if a volunteer is available to monitor at close proximity 

  • Running through other organized games or close to climbing equipment 

  • Bouncing or kicking balls against or toward school building 

  • Standing or sitting on top of climbing equipment or hanging upside down from equipment 

  • Kicking/pulling a child on the monkey bars or pushing a child off equipment 

  • Going underneath monkey bars when someone is climbing 

  • Tying jump ropes to self, other children or to equipment, using rope as whip 

  • Wrestling/play fighting/teasing/hitting even if playfully 

  • Digging in the dirt or mulch/playing in puddles/throwing dirt, rocks or mulch 

  • Climbing trees or fences