Story from the Playground: Coach Blake

  1. Updates

Playworks Junior Coaches help our coaches facilitate recess, but more importantly, they learn how to lead, resolve conflicts, problem solve, and model positive behavior. Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program gives students a new sense of purpose and provides them with the resources to discover their best selves. Coach Blake explains how the Junior Coach Leadership Program improved one student's behavior and connection to the school community. 


 A student, who I will call John, is a third grader who is new to the school and a year older than most of his classmates. In the beginning of the school year, I was able to have him out at recess with me or in charge of the equipment. He was labeled as the “bad kid” and in the “bad class” by some of the students. Unfortunately, his poor behavior in class was resolved by having him skip recess.

His teacher, the school’s resource team, and I worked together on a way to maximize his time with positivity. John does very well whenever he is with me, so I thought it would be a good idea to make him a Junior Coach. However, Junior Coaches are traditionally for fourth and fifth graders only, so I created the Freshman Coach position as an opportunity for third graders to contribute to their school through leadership.

Freshman Coaches are allowed to “work” before school recess if they are exhibiting good leadership skills. I saw this as a great opportunity for John. I talked to him and his teacher about the conditions to which he can participate and how excited I was to have him join. He has been with me for two days and I can already see an improvement in his choices and attitude. John thrives when he has responsibilities and tasks to complete. According to one of his resource teachers, John comes to her after recess excited and proud of being a Freshman Coach. I am so happy that he enjoys being a Freshman Coach, and that it is positively impacting him. I can not wait to see how he grows the rest of the year.