Welcome back to our Coach spotlight series! In this series, we’re introducing all of our AmeriCorps members serving as Coaches in Playworks partner schools for the 2021-2022 school year. Next up, we would like to introduce Riaunah Washington, aka Coach Ri.
Coach Ri is a first time AmeriCorps member serving at Global Prep Academy at IPS Riverside #44 where she is learning all about what it takes to be a Playworks Coach and leverage the power of play for positive student outcomes.
Coach Ri enjoys facilitating all types of games at recess, but one game that has become a staple at GPA is Cone Guardian. Cone Guardian is all about protecting your cone, while also trying to knock over someone else’s with a dodgeball. Coach Ri said this has been a game that everyone loves to play among all age groups. Involving all kids at recess brings Coach Ri closer to achieving her overall goals everyday.
“By the end of the school year, I hope to achieve a recess culture full of students starting multiple games on their own, more positive conflict resolutions being used (like rock paper scissors), and more teacher involvement. I’ve learned that the more the teachers are involved (in student play), the less incidents occur.”
As we can all imagine, this school year continues to be especially hard on kids and school staff as we are still navigating in person instruction during a pandemic. Now more than ever, we have seen the importance and value of play as a healing tool for children and adults experiencing stress and trauma. That is why Playworks is focused on ensuring every kid has the chance to play every day at school.
“The best part of being a Playworks Coach is walking into my school and seeing the student’s face light up when they ask me, ‘Are you going to be out at recess today?’ (even though I’m out there every recess) or ‘Are we playing … at recess today?’ or ‘Do we have practice today?’ It’s been great knowing that the student’s see me as an important part of their school day.”
Because of Playworks staff like Coach Ri, kids look forward to learning new games everyday and playing alongside their peers. Playworks Indiana is sending a huge Superstar Clap your way Coach Ri!