A healthy community is imperative for a program like Playworks to flourish at any school. The bonds that we make with the children through the course of the year are inevitable; it is the bonds with our staff on campus that can sometimes be the hardest to establish.
One teacher at my school resisted Playworks from the start, even stating “I hate games”, at a training in the beginning of the year. After a brief conversation with her following this meeting, I knew that I had a mission to make her love Playworks. The result, thus far, has exceeded any and all expectations that I could have had.
It began slowly. Following our first class game time, the students enjoyed playing Switch so much that she took them out all week during class time to play. Since then, the teacher has consistently used games with her students because they enjoyed them so much. Later, she opened up to me about how some of her students had been improving, and how much she and the rest of her class loved playing the games that I taught them. She has even began using more high fives and saying, “Good job, nice try,” to encourage her students.
It all came full circle today when her class came out again for class game time. We focused on Blob Tag. As the game picked up steam this teacher jumped right in, and was running around in the blob with the rest of her students. I was overjoyed as I stepped back to observe the game. Hearing the screams of joy and laughter while seeing all of them enjoy each others company through play was miraculous. For that brief game, the teacher was living in the moment with her students.
I love the power of play. I love how it can build up our students, our supervisors, our parents and our beloved teachers. I saw a healthier community today, and this teacher has begun to see just how vital play is to strengthening this community. Now I hear the teacher say, “I love this game,” and that is an awesome feeling.
—Coach Cole, Garfield Elementary