“I’m better than you!”

  1. Updates

Of all the great things Playworks has implemented into a school filled with 1200 students; one story, in particular, personifies Playworks’ mission and the reason we are increasing in size every year. At the beginning of the school year, I met a student who was competitive in every possible sport on the school yard.  Darren Long was known as the kid who could jump higher, run faster, and kick the ball harder than any kid at the school. Though I was impressed by his athletic ability, I was shocked that he was so confrontational with most of his classmates. He was so competitive that his performance on the field spilled into the classroom through bragging about what he could do in comparison to other kids.  His comments were “If Mike couldn't stop me out there: no one here can stop me". These kind of comments started arguments and created a "Darren versus everyone else" mentality.

So as a result, I felt Darren would benefit from the Junior Coach program and offered him a Junior Coach position.  Within a couple of weeks, his responsibility as a Junior Coach gave Darren a sense of purpose.  Almost immediately Darren went from someone who wants to beat you, to someone who wants to help you. He started leading games and teaching his fellow students tips and tricks on how to master each game.  Several students listened to Darren since he was already known for his athletic abilities on campus.  He was able to help students improve and build skills. For example, students who couldn't catch a football, now could.  Those who couldn't dribble a basketball were playing full court games. It was amazing to see the “I versus everyone else” mentality melt away and watch him turn into the “teacher” at recess.  Even today, Darren continues to be one of my best Junior Coaches. Thanks to the Junior Coach program, he is no longer arguing with everyone and has become a mentor instead of a competitor. This is only a snap shot of the many great things Playworks provides to every school. 

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,…