Story from the Playground: Coach Blake

  1. Updates

Playworks Junior Coaches help our coaches facilitate recess, but more importantly, they learn how to lead, resolve conflicts, problem solve, and model positive behavior. Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program gives students a new sense of purpose and provides them with the resources to discover their best selves. Coach Blake explains how the Junior Coach Leadership Program improved one student's behavior and connection to the school community. 


 A student, who I will call John, is a third grader who is new to the school and a year older than most of his classmates. In the beginning of the school year, I was able to have him out at recess with me or in charge of the equipment. He was labeled as the “bad kid” and in the “bad class” by some of the students. Unfortunately, his poor behavior in class was resolved by having him skip recess.

His teacher, the school’s resource team, and I worked together on a way to maximize his time with positivity. John does very well whenever he is with me, so I thought it would be a good idea to make him a Junior Coach. However, Junior Coaches are traditionally for fourth and fifth graders only, so I created the Freshman Coach position as an opportunity for third graders to contribute to their school through leadership.

Freshman Coaches are allowed to “work” before school recess if they are exhibiting good leadership skills. I saw this as a great opportunity for John. I talked to him and his teacher about the conditions to which he can participate and how excited I was to have him join. He has been with me for two days and I can already see an improvement in his choices and attitude. John thrives when he has responsibilities and tasks to complete. According to one of his resource teachers, John comes to her after recess excited and proud of being a Freshman Coach. I am so happy that he enjoys being a Freshman Coach, and that it is positively impacting him. I can not wait to see how he grows the rest of the year.

More Updates


coach standing in front of children
coach standing in front of children

July 19, 2021

Warriors Community Foundation and Salesforce sponsor Playworks video ›

Playworks is delighted to share this video showcasing our continued partnership with the Warriors Community Foundation and Salesforce during the 2020-21 school year! We are grateful for our highlighted partners, Catholic Charities Maureen & Craig Sullivan Youth Services in San Francisco and Manzanita Community School in Oakland. Playworks has delivered safe and healthy play to…

March 25, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Physically Distant with No Equipment ›

As more and more schools transition back to in-person learning, we know educators are looking for games that are physically-distant and don’t require equipment. The need for play is more important than ever due to the isolation that our kids have endured during COVID-19. Play encourages creativity, flexibility, teamwork, and other critical social skills. We’ve…

March 12, 2021

Playworks: One Year Later ›

One year ago… All of our partner schools closed their buildings and our work serving kids in schools risked coming to a halt. We knew our mission had to continue. We remained committed to providing opportunities for joy and connection through play for kids in a COVID safe way, regardless if their school was virtual,…