Game markingsFrom the Editor

Family Circle Magazine
From the Editor – 04/01/1998

“We used to run around like crazy at lunchtime,” admits my son, Matthew, who is a fourth grader at Roberge School in River Vale, New Jersey. “Now we have neat stuff  to do.”

That neat stuff consists of colorfully planned painted game markings, such as hop-scotch, four squares, handball and basketball, all painted  game markings on the blacktop.

Our playground was transformed  thanks to Ron Van Buren, a physical education teacher who had a mission. He and some generous volunteers helped create this “Peaceful Playground” for our grammar school.

“When I heard about the idea, I could see the possibility that it would really help our school get rid of bad behavior on the playground,” says Ron, whom the children affectionately call Mr. V.

“I had been doing lunch duty for 12 years. There was a lot of kicking and pushing. Power Ranger-type fighting was everywhere.”

School principal Maria Corso says it was a simple, inexpensive project that has made a big difference. “Now we see the children enjoying old-fashioned games like beanbag toss and even creating their own versions of traditional line games on the painted game markings.”

The concept of Peaceful Playgrounds was developed 20 years ago by Melinda Bossenmeyer, a phys-ed specialist from California. She has personally designed over 100 of them and estimates that about 1,000 schools have used her guidebook.

From roughhousing to hopscotch! Students now “play nice” and have fun, too. A super playground makeover: Parents and teacher volunteers painted the cheerful, constructive games and activities.

Interested? You can get a copy of the 50-page book by visiting

Susan Ungaro

Family Circle Magazine