Playworks team members flew from cities across the country to bring more play to recess yards around Phoenix, Arizona. Below is some of what those coaches experienced and heard.
“I love the way that you teach the kids; you talk to them the same way I do and it’s making them so successful. This is great!” said a second grade teacher.
Coach Shantrell Sneed, Playworks Oakland and East Bay:
My first class game time with third graders was a more rewarding experience than I had intended. During a competitive game of sprout tag, I noticed that there was one kid, who would take a knee when he got tagged, and then get back up when he thought no one was watching. As I was on my way to talk to him and remind him of the rules of sprout tag, his classmate beat me to the punch. As I was standing four feet away, I hear him say, “Dude, you’re not playing fair. Coach asked us to respect the game, and that’s how we’re going to play! It even says, ‘Respeta el juego’ on the back of her shirt! The student then proceeded to take a knee, and didn’t get up until the appropriate time.
After that class game time, an aide working with the class pulled me to the side and said, “I really wish you were here longer than just this week. You are bringing something to this school that the kids have never seen, but desperately need. I think all schools in Phoenix should have this program!”
One third grader greeted his coach, then explain to his questioning mother, “Oh don’t trip mom, I know her… she’s my Ro-Sham-Bo Coach!”
Coach Kim Lombardi, Playworks San Francisco:
On the last day, Friday, I couldn’t play with the first graders because they were taking an Earth Day field trip to the park while I ran class game times throughout the day. As they were leaving for the trip and I was giving my hi-five goodbyes to them, one of the first grade teachers came up to me and said “Oh, I forgot to tell you! You will be happy to hear that each of us teachers (there were 6 of them!) decided to each take a game station and play a game with the kids that we saw this week. I am doing Pass the Pig!” She showed me the stuffed Piglet from Winnie the Pooh that she was holding. I had played a rendition of the game ‘Bob the Bunny’ with the kids using the squeaky pig from our equipment bags. I don’t know if it was because it was the last day and everything was already feeling a little bittersweet, but when she said that I literally thought I was going to cry with happiness!
After using attention-getters to get students into straight, quiet lines ready to listen and transition into the classroom, a yard supervisor asked “How did you do that?!” And of course, Coach Bill took that opportunity to share some useful attention-getters.