Boston Public Schools Health & Wellness Department Remixing Recess for 4th-8th Graders

  1. Updates

Principals in Boston are seeing many new needs from their students with schools fully reopen this fall. We’ve heard from many school leaders that beyond lost learning time, students have lost playing time. Out at recess, it’s clear they’re unsure how to engage with each other. 

More used to being behind screens, middle school students are having a particularly hard time. That’s why 14 recess teams are coming together for the Recess Remix workshop series, a new initiative from the Boston Public Schools Health & Wellness Department focused on high quality recess for 4th-8th grade students.

We know that as students returned to full-time in-person learning, there was an urgent need to prioritize health and well-being, make connections with peers, and create opportunities for joy and play,” says BPS Physical Activity Program Coordinator Sravanthy Neeraja. “We’re focusing on promoting safe, quality recess this year because we know that it can help address all of these things.”

Educators learn Watch Your Back Tag at Recess Remix workshop on November 10

Over the course of this school year, two cohorts of Boston Public Schools will go through a training series with Playworks Trainer Molly Rosen to learn engaging recess games, practice empowering group management systems, and design an active recess plan for their school community. Each school will also participate in an on-site Consultation Visit at their school, utilizing the Great Recess Framework to adjust and refine their action plan.

Playworks Trainer Molly Rosen and BPS Physical Activity Program Coordinator Sravanthy Neeraja welcome educators to the first Recess Remix workshop.

Students in large urban districts are likely to have fewer minutes for recess or to not have recess at all, a missed opportunity for physical activity. According to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recess offers nearly half of the opportunities available to promote physical activity among kids during the school year. However, recess doesn’t always fulfill its potential for the positive impact it can have on the school day. Without proper staffing, training, and planning, many issues from recess can spill over into the rest of the school day.

Thankfully, Boston Public Schools ensures in their wellness policy that students in grades PK-8 have at least 20 minutes of daily recess and at least 150 minutes of in-school physical activity weekly. The 14 schools coming together as part of the Recess Remix training this year will learn best practices for making the most of this active time at school.

“Our goal is to create a culture around the joy of movement, and to do so we need to support our staff across the district to ensure they have the resources they need to help build that culture within their schools,” says Neeraja.

The first cohort of 7 Boston Public Schools came together for the first time this week and will complete their training this fall, but the January cohort is still accepting applications. If your school is interested in participating or finding out more about the ways Playworks can support your students, please reach out to Playworks Partnership Director Dawn Lavallee.


More Updates

August 1, 2022

2021-22 Year End Report ›

After two years of isolation and adapted schooling, our students and staff spent a full year together in school buildings. We continued innovating to meet the needs of students, schools, and partners. Our return to in-person events was filled with joy, and throughout it all, bringing the healing power of play to students across New…

parent playing with kids outside
parent playing with kids outside

July 21, 2022

Games to play at home this summer ›

Are you looking for games to play at home using only things found around your house? Look no further! In case you haven’t heard – school’s out for summer! With long stretches of hot days still to come, you might be looking forward to playing some new games with your family or people in your…

coach writing letter
coach writing letter

June 22, 2022

Playworks AmeriCorps Coaches’ end of year reflections ›

Being an AmeriCorps Coach at Playworks is no small feat. Throughout the year, you are asked to complete 1,700 hours of service. Weekend service projects are common, you recruit and coach students for a basketball extravaganza, and you’re encouraged to spend a lot of time reflecting on why you chose to do a year of…