Similar to a kindergartener on the first day of school, Playworks new class of coaches walked into the first day of Playworks’ pre-srvice training with backpacks full, sharpened pencils, and high expectations. Was a week of training really necessary to teach the basics of kickball and four square? Within the first hour of training the coaches realized they were about to learn much more than simply the basic rules of playground games.
Discussions and trainings revolved around effective group management strategies, how to plan a lesson for class game time, diffusing conflicts using Roshambo and preemptive measures, and of course LOTS of games. As training progressed, our new coaches began to understand that while play is all about fun and physical activity, learning how to teach inclusive play is harder than it looks.
Play as a youth development tool is a new branch of pedagogy that is incredibly effective, but is not being utilized to its full potential in our schools. That is, until Playworks comes along.
Armed with enough games to fill many a school day and a common understanding of the importance of play, our new coaches will brave the sometimes tough and tiring scene of an elementary recess. Playbook in hand, they will shift the climate at our 18 schools in San Francisco, giving every child they work with, a chance to play in a safe and inclusive way, at school everyday.
-Sierra Bloyd (Playworks Coach at ER Taylor Elementary)