Solomon, a fourth-grader and Playworks Junior Coach, was looking for the scoop on recess for his school newspaper at University Heights Charter School in Newark. He sat down with the school’s executive director, Misha Simmonds, to find out how recess has changed and — just as important — what his favorite game is.
Why did you bring Playworks to the school?
I wasn’t satisfied with how recess was going. There wasn’t organized activity or enough supervision. I wanted someone to make the activities more fun and organized, and reduce the number of fights.
What do you like the most about the program?
Our coach, Coach Quinn. He brings a lot of energy and cooperates with the teachers by incorporating what kids are learning in their classes into the activities. And he’s a good role model for the students.
How has the school changed over the past few months?
Coach Quinn taught the students how to resolve some of the petty conflicts during play and outside of play, like with ro-sham-bo. And when kids go back to class after lunch and recess, they are ready to learn. They don’t have as many problems as I remember them having last year. Teachers have even used some of Coach Quinn’s techniques in the classroom to get students to focus.
What is your favorite game?
Builders and movers! You put out all the cones and if you’re a builder you have to put the cone upright. If you’re a mover you have to put the cone upside down. It gets everyone active and organized, and no one gets left out of the game.
How often do you get in the game?
A couple times a week during recess or in classes. I love to play at recess! I come back with a lot more energy. I wish I could do it every day.
Can you describe Playworks in one word?
Positive is the first word that comes to my mind. It’s positive about physical activity, playing together and supporting each other by not being negative toward fellow students.