As a Playworks coach, there are so many positive things that outweigh the long hours, lesson planning, and nasty weather. Everyday I come to school and look forward to seeing disagreements resolved using ro-sham-bo and seeing friendships grow as students play together at recess. I have also learned that a smile can say so much and is a part of a universal language, especially when there is a language barrier between young children.
Playworks strives to use play to bring out the best of every child. I have seen some great transformations and continuous growth in many of my students from working with them during Class Game Times (CGT) and giving them the responsibility to show their skills at recess. During CGTs, students are introduced to a variety of games that they may not have otherwise taken the opportunity to try. I have also created a safe environment where students feel safe to try new things and are encouraged to cheer each other on and give high fives.
An individual story comes to mind about a young 5th grade girl with a disability. Most of the time, she likes to stand back and not be noticed; but I wanted her to have the same opportunity as every other student. With a little encouragement from me, her teacher and some of her classmates, she gathered the courage to participate. At that time we were playing a kickball game and she was up to kick. She not only kicked the ball, but kicked it very well and it was as much of a shock to her classmates as it was to her. The smile on her face said it all! It was something she may not have always felt comfortable doing, or may not have ever been given the opportunity, but she was successful and felt accomplished. For some students, it may be more difficult to get involved. I have found that getting them involved in different ways, such as just being your helper, or gathering the equipment will make their day and will help to boost their confidence.
As an AmeriCorps member and a member of my school community, I work hard to make the community a safer, stronger, and healthier place to be. I enjoy doing my part by teaching students respect, self confidence, and problem solving through games and play. It is important to me to not only have a relationship with my students, but also with teachers, school staff, and the families of the school community. Together we can all make the community a better place to be.