Jonathan Gets in the Game

  1. Updates

Jonathan, a quiet and shy 4th grader, never played at recess. Through the gentle persistance of Coach Lisa, Jonathan eventually broke out of his shell and now plays four-square everyday!

When I first arrived at my school site, I focused on what recess games were being played and who the kids were playing them. Shortly after I had settled in, I redirected my focus on the kids who were not playing during their recess time. One boy in particular stood out to me. His name is Jonathan, and he is in the fourth grade. Every day at recess Jonathan sat behind a tall tree at the very corner of the playground. Jonathan did not appear to have any friends, he was extremely shy, and he always looked very unhappy.

I made it a point to always go over and talk to Jonathan at each recess. I asked him each day, “Do you want to come join in on one of the games with me?” Jonathan’s response was always no. I soon learned I needed to take smaller steps with him. A few times I simply just asked him to come take a walk with me around the playground. Again, he would always respond with, “No thanks.” Many times I was discouraged and felt as if I was bothering him. One day to my surprise Jonathan reluctantly said yes, that he would come take a walk with me. I was ecstatic! For the next week or so, Jonathan and I would take a walk around the playground for a few minutes each recess.

Although Jonathan had made some improvement, he had made it clear that he was not willing to start playing. So again, I tried to take baby steps with him. “What about if we watch a game being played, Jonathan? If you could choose to watch any game right now, what would you choose?” I asked him. He took his time thinking and then responded with, “Four-sqaure." For the next week, Jonathan would watch other kids play four-square at each recess. I would always encourage him to join in, but he was adamant about just wanting to watch.

Then one day, Jonathan came up to me and said he was going to play four-square and asked if I could play too. Jonathan played his first of many four-sqaure games that day.

For about a month now, Jonathan plays four-sqaure every single recess. In the past month, I have seen a complete turnaround in him. Jonathan now has friends. He has more confidence and is less shy. He smiles now. Most importantly, he is playing and having fun at recess. Since I have gotten to know Jonathan more, I have learned about the very harsh circumstances that he is going through outside of school. I am glad I was able to push Jonathan out of his comfort zone at recess. Knowing that he is able to play and just be a kid at recess makes me so happy. It is only November and I know Jonathan has many more accomplishments coming his way this school year.

– Coach Lisa, Spruce Elementary

 

 

 

 

More Updates


A boy and girl holding basketballs on a playground.
A boy and girl holding basketballs on a playground.

November 16, 2022

2021-22 Annual Report ›

We are excited to share with you a look back at everything we accomplished in the 2021-2022 program year. It was a year focused on rebuilding after the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and we are proud to share that we served 41,200 students in the Northern California Region.  We are thankful for your continued…

three people with Playworks shirts
three people with Playworks shirts

July 28, 2022

A year of social and emotional learning ›

“You can’t do SEL, trauma, or equity work without each other,” Jennette Claassen, Head of Evaluation, Playworks. As Playworks continued to progress on our equity journey, we explored a critical question: what are the intersections between play, social and emotional learning, physical activity, and trauma? A working group focused on this question decided, among other…

April 5, 2022

Golden State Warriors Community Foundation & Salesforce partner with Playworks ›

Check out this inspiring video showcasing Playworks Northern California’s continued partnership with the Warriors Community Foundation and Salesforce during the 2021-22 school year. Playworks has delivered safe and healthy play to over 30,000 elementary school children of promise in Northern California this year. We are grateful for their support of this important work!