Since its innovative launch in November of 2015, Recess Rocks in Rhode Island (RRIRI) has spread safe and healthy play across the Ocean State through a collaborative partnership between Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BSBSRI), Playworks, and Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition (RIHSC).
This partnership is one of a kind, as it aims to bring the power of play through Playworks to every student in Rhode Island in the coming years. Since its debut, Recess Rocks in Rhode Island has:
- fully “rocked” 12 school districts, meaning that each school has been through the Recess Rocks core training program
- trained 100+ schools to engage students in vigorous physical activity during recess and decrease disciplinary incidents that remove students from recess
- brought a positive recess climate to 36,000+ students
On Friday, September 24, Playworks New England hosted 17 BCBSRI associates on their 10th anniversary of #BlueAcrossRI2021, Blue Cross’ annual service day to engage employees and support local nonprofits. Despite rainy weather, volunteers showed up eager to support Playworks’ mission and play some games!
The morning was spent creating colorful and inspiring murals that will be hung at a Playworks partner school, Raices Dual Language Academy in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Murals ranged from rainbow swirls to phrases such as “You are welcomed, important, respected, loved” but all had the same goal: to create a more dynamic, inclusive, and joyful recess yard for students.
After a lunch and game break (we had so much fun playing Chewbacca and Team Juggle!), volunteers shifted their focus from painting to writing welcome letters to incoming Junior Coaches in Rhode Island.
The Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program is a unique opportunity for a group of 4th and 5th graders to meet for coaching on how to be a leader both in the classroom and in their community, then empowered to take those lessons onto the playground to lead recess with their younger peers while modeling empathy, respect, and inclusion. This year will be the first year that the Junior Coach Leadership Program is implemented in Rhode Island, and we are so grateful to our volunteers for writing powerful letters for our incoming JCs.
As we enter the seventh year of Recess Rocks in Rhode Island, we cannot express how thankful we are for our partnership with Blue Cross & Blue Shield Rhode Island and Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition. Their belief in the power of play to bring out the best in every kid is transforming school climate all across Rhode Island!
Photos courtesy of Jeff Potter