Last week six of our Program Coordinators from across the country traveled to Oklahoma City for recess roll-out—a week long demonstration of the main components of the Playworks program. Focusing on recess and class game time while encouraging leadership development, the “coaches” taught students key playground games, conflict resolution skills and positive sporting behavior. The following are a selection of the many highlights from the week in Oklahoma City.
Coach Amber Johnson at Eisenhower Elementary School shared this story:
In between dances, the presenter and teachers were having a hard time getting students to refocus. The presenter raised his hand, hoping students would follow along. Teachers along the sides of their classes “shhhh’ed” their students with little success.
Standing next to the principal in the back of the room, I saw this as an opportunity to show my principal (who hadn’t been to a class game time or recess yet) what a 5’2″, 100 lb Playworks coach could do.
“If you think that was awesome say ‘Oh, yeah.'”
“Oh, yeah!!” the students responded.
“If you think that was awesome say ‘Holla'”
“Holla!!” This time 100% participation.
“And face forward.”
Immediately the Eisenhower students turned forward, gym now the quietest it had been since we entered the assembly.
To my right, the principal stood, white in the face, jaw dropped.
To my left, the gym teacher stood, white in the face, jaw dropped.
At the completion of the 3rd-5th grade recess, one Edgemere Elementary teacher told Coach Andrew “I can’t believe the relay races went the whole time and they didn’t care who was winning!”
Willow Brook Elementary School social worker told us “we loved watching our students have so much fun! [It was] such a positive experience versus the regular bullying/fighting that goes on.”
And at the end of the week, fourth grader Noah asked Coach Hernandez “you can fit me in your suitcase, Coach. I want to go back to DC to play games with you and get high fives all the time.”