Self-improvement lessons from the playground for all of us | Playworks

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Self-improvement lessons from the playground for all of us

Mon, 08/21/2017

As the season transitions and temperatures cool, September is the perfect time to reflect, look ahead, regroup, and focus on our self-improvement. In fact, it is #SelfImprovementMonth.

How can we continue to improve? How can we work to become better people? There is no better place to look than to the lessons learned on the playground.

At Playworks, we know firsthand that safe and fun recess unlocks kids’ super powers and improves their lives and well-being. Our educators and coaches witness this daily on playgrounds nationwide. In fact, of educators surveyed at our partner schools during the 2016-17 school year:

  • 95% reported an increase in the level of cooperation among students
  • 98% reported an increase in the number of students who are physically active on the playground
  • 85% reported that Junior Coaches take on a leadership role at recess

Self-Improvement Lessons from Junior Coaches

Playworks Junior Coaches are the superheroes on the playground. These fourth- and fifth-graders lead games at recess and teach fair play and conflict resolution to their classmates. Playworks Junior Coach lessons are all of our lessons. They are timeless, priceless self-improvement tips we can all use to help unlock our own super powers.

Here are a few lessons Playworks Junior Coach have learned on the playground that we can apply to improve ourselves every day:

1. It’s how you do it

What matters most is not how much time you spend doing something but how you do it. Focus on making the best effort you possibly can and giving your full attention rather than focusing on the amount of time you log.

2. Be a leader

It is important to step up and be a leader, not a follower. Push yourself to take more responsibility and work hard to inspire and motivate others around you.

3. More than one way to communicate

There are many ways to talk to other people. Everyone is different so it is important to try and find the best way to communicate with other people.

4. Work hard for it

If you want to accomplish something, you have to work hard at it to get it accomplished.

5. Be a positive role model

Help others unlock the best in themselves by putting your best self forward. Your positivity is infectious. Once you model positive behavior, others will follow suit.

6. You don’t have to play rough

Many times, kids assume you have to play rough on the playground. This is not true and it is important to teach others that there are many ways to approach something.

7. Be assertive

It’s important to ask more questions and talk more. Use your assertive voice.

8. Responsible & respectful

We can always be more responsible and more respectful of others.

9. Have fun

Don't forget to have fun. Finding pleasure in whatever you are doing will keep you engaged and open up new opportunities to learn and grow.


For more than 20 years, Playworks has been strengthening the social, emotional, and physical development of children by including and engaging every child in healthy play. Our programming restores valuable teaching time, reduces bullying, and increases physical activity, shifting the school culture into an environment that is conducive for youth to thrive.

If you are interested in supporting our important work to improve the health and well-being of children through the super power of play, please donate or jump in the game as a volunteer.