So without further ado, meet Lindsey Welch, a coach at Heflin Elementary School.
Lindsey grew up in Grapevine, Texas. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences with an emphasis in youth development.
When she started her job search after college, she was looking specifically for a challenge in the nonprofit realm that involved helping kids. Her interview with Playworks stands out in her memory. As part of her interview, Lindsey had to teach our staff a group game. She remembers how playful, positive and active our staff was, and after that experience, Lindsey knew Playworks created an energized environment she wanted to be a part of.
Lindsey’s Program Manager, Lee Barrett raves about how organized she is. He says whether she’s recruiting Junior Coaches or players for leagues, Lindsey is always ahead of deadlines. This year, she had a waiting list of five students the first week she started talking about the soccer team! Here she is with some of her players:
During the soccer league, Lindsey was up for a challenge. Her team had 15 kids and after a rough first practice, she found all of them were at very different skill levels. Some had grown up watching professional soccer and had played organized games before, while others didn't even know the basic rules.
She took charge of making the kids come together and play together. Lindsey started organizing team building games before each practice. She tells us the children really responded to games like "I love my neighbor, especially my neighbor who" and "one fish, two fish."
Slowly, but surely Lindsey started to see those games allow the players to be friends first. Natural leaders who knew the sport emerged and others trusted this leader who was most importantly a new friend. With this base, the kids pretty much ran their own practices, following each other's advice.
The trust and respect learned in this league continues to show itself on the playground. Now, long after the soccer league ended, Lindsey continues to see her team working together during recess. The students pitch in helping teach others the rules of 3 lines soccer.
Coach Lindsey shines with positivity. At the end of her recess, she sends the students back to class with an encouraging cheer! She’s even inspired students to make up his or her own! Kids run straight to Lindsey at the beginning of recess to teach her the words and are eager for her to lead students in the new cheer at the end of recess. Check out this student made cheer:
“Who rocks the house? I said Playworks rocks the house!
And when Playworks rocks the house, we rock it all the way down!”
Playworks has a holistic approach to social-emotional learning and child development. Coaches work with students at recess, but our evidence based physical activity and play program also includes something we call Class Game Time. During Class Game Time, Coaches, like Lindsey, work with teachers to provide 30-45 minutes of game time every other week on average. This allows coaches to train teachers on Playworks methodology so that teachers can continue healthy play with their students independently.
If a Class Game Time gets hectic, Lindsey maintains a calm attitude. And speaking of class game time, her program manager, Lee Barrett, gives her a high five for always trying to make each and every one better. He says Lindsey is constantly seeking feedback on her lesson plans. She’s learned the importance of having an overall theme or objective for each lesson. She says the kids at her school learn best when they see the connections between games in the classroom and games on the blacktop.
Lindsey is an engaging role model when it comes to academics too. She knows students by their first names and goes the extra mile by checking in on the tests they took or are getting ready for. Coach Lindsey uses the short recess to make a BIG difference in the lives of the students she impacts each day.