Playworks Indiana had a busy October, emphasizing safe tagging and inclusive play at our partner schools and starting our second All IN Sports league of the year, Flag Football! Organized sports, especially football, can be a really intimidating sport for both students and parents to get excited about due to the physicality factor. At Playworks, we help break down some of that intimidation by focusing on safe play strategies and ensuring all kids participating are set up for success. We accomplish this by developing and reinforcing safe tagging and inclusive play skills at recess, during the school day, and after school at Flag Football league practices.
Safe tagging is so important not only on a flag football team but everyday on the playground at school. Tagging games are often games that many schools try to avoid because of the physical dangers that come with getting tagged a little too hard. Playworks is trying to rewrite that narrative and show how tagging games can be safe and fun for every kid!
“By teaching students where and how to tag, Playworks promotes safety and inclusion. Students learn to tag one another only on their shoulders, arms and back using butterfly fingers. We show kids how to tag with their arms outstretched, vs pushing or hitting when tagging. Wondering how to get started? Be sure to give clear instructions and reminders at the start of each game – try inviting two students to model safe tagging for the group! Of course students will still make mistakes and may need adult support to be successful. Reminders go a long way – but when necessary, any consequences should be respectful, related and revealed in advance whenever possible.” – Audrey Hallman, Regional Partnership Director
Inclusive play is when every student feels welcome and valued in a game. Some things we are asking students and teachers to try on is positive communication and community building. By using positive communication like “Good job, nice try” rather than “you’re out” and reinforcing that participation with a high-five, we can take some of the pressure off of losing a game and make it a more enjoyable, positive experience that the student wants to continue.
Community building is essential in making a playground more welcoming for all students. Our Coaches and Site Coordinators do that everyday at recess but not without help from teachers and students. By being welcoming and encouraging, everyone is getting a chance to play some of Playworks’ favorite games like Foursquare, Switch, Cone Guardian, and more.
To learn more about our Scope and Sequences for the year read September’s blog and stay tuned for November.