PlayShop Shows How to Create a Safe and Healthy Recess

  1. Updates

There’s nothing like seeing a great recess in action! And that’s just what happened as part of Playworks’ PlayShop at Eastman Avenue Elementary School on October 23. Sponsored by the USC Good Neighbors Grant, the PlayShop allowed principals and others from neighboring schools to get a glimpse of a high-functioning recess, like the ones that happen every single day at Eastman Avenue, located in East Los Angeles.

“We figured that would be a great school for potential partners to observe, so they can see how a school can really benefit from the program,” says Alejandra Liera, Playworks’ program manager who led the PlayShop.

The two-hour program started, of course, with play, with participants enjoying an appropriately named icebreaker game called “I Love My Neighbor.” Participants then learned about Playworks’ mission and vision and how its different service models can work for different schools. Then came the highlight—recess time! Observers went outside to watch Eastman’s recess that features healthy, safe, and inclusive play for all.

So what are the specific ingredients that lead to a terrific recess? Alejandra says having strong systems in place is key, regardless of whether or not there’s an assigned Playworks AmeriCorps Coach to lead play. That starts with a structured opening, which may include supervision aides cheering, greeting the children, and reviewing the playground agreements. But there’s plenty more that Eastman Avenue does right, too. “They have about seven to eight games out at recess,” Alejandra says. “They have clear and visible boundaries, and they have really amazing junior coaches who take initiative and help and support these games.”

Eastman Avenue’s principal is a cheerleader for Playworks because she’s seen the power of play and what a difference it has made at her school. From an engaged staff to students who have learned valuable conflict resolution skills, the Playworks model has created a positive play culture at the school. “The staff is empowered because they receive ongoing training and support from Playworks,” says Teresa Armas, principal at Eastman Avenue Elementary. “And since Playworks has started, office referrals straight from the playground have been almost nonexistent.”

The PlayShop at Eastman was supported by the USC Good Neighbors Grant Program funded by university employee contributions to support the university-community partnership.

Sponsored by USC

More Updates

kids and adults posing with hula hoops
kids and adults posing with hula hoops

July 18, 2024

At Home Olympics ›

Sports fans across the globe are gearing up for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The Olympics are an exciting opportunity to celebrate outstanding athletes, cheer on teams from around the…

June 20, 2024

Games to Play this Summer ›

Summertime is here!  The first few weeks of summer bring fun and excitement and the return of free time and fun, seasonal activities. But as the summer stretches on, it…

May 29, 2024

2024 International Day of Play ›

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted June 11 as the International Day of Play. This global celebration was established to champion and protect children’s right to play. On this…