“Tag You’re It” – George McCall & Bache-Martin Elementary School

  1. Updates

George McCall Elementary  School 

English & Mandarin, The Challenge

With more than half of McCall School’s population speaking Mandarin as a primary language, communication is often difficult. Last year it was very challenging throughout recess trying to involve the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students in any of the game stations. Often these students did not recognize what we refer to as ‘core games’ and would decline participation. 

In the beginning of the year Ms. Chen, one of the ESOL teachers, asked if her classes could be added to my regular Class Game Time schedule, when I go to individual classes and work with them and the teacher to teach games and playground activities. I welcomed the challenge and reviewed some helpful ESOL teaching strategies with her.  During class we taught in English and Mandarin, using use visual aids for reference. 

The neat thing about play is that most can learn just by seeing and doing.  After just a few classes I noticed a difference in these students at recess.  They understood the playground and line-up time expectations and were beginning to participate in the ‘core games.' The students began to approach and attempt to communicate more with me in the hallways and during recess.  Recently I have been asking them to try to teach me more Mandarin! Not only are they learning, but I am learning as well. Being an AmeriCorps Coach with Playworks has given me one of the greatest experiences I could have ever imagined.

– Coach Kait, AmeriCorps Coach


Bache-Martin Elementary School 

Playing Student

Playworks Program Manager Greg learned how to loom a rubber-band bracelet under the instruction of Junior Coach Kelis. By allowing himself to learn, Greg enabled Kelis to exercise her leadership skills. This moment captured what Playworks is all about—bringing the best out of kids through the power of play. This healthy interaction touched me. The student had become the coach, and the coach was now a student.  Greg described the moment as fun and rewarding.  As a Playworks coach based in Bache-Martin Elementary School, I hope to seize such teachable moments as Greg did.

– Coach Seck, Program Coordinator 

More Updates


August 24, 2021

Playworks Founder Jill Vialet Publishes ‘Why Play Works’ ›

Play brings out the best in every kid. Over the course of 25 years since Jill Vialet founded Playworks, she and her colleagues, as well as researchers and play experts, have demonstrated precisely how and why play works to help kids learn and grow in the most positive and healthy ways. Jill gathered stories from people…

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,…