Jackson at Play

Demonstrating the power of play on recess yards across Jackson, MS

Nine rock star coaches made their way to Jackson, Mississippi last month to showcase Playworks on school playgrounds for one week. Here is what they heard and experienced:

Playworks has been here only two days and my stress level has decrease by half!” -Fifth grade teacher.

“Respect takes years to earn but you got it from our students in record time! Now I feel like we will have a calmer and safer school next year!” -School counselor

On the first day of Recess Roll-Out Coach Tony Knight shared this story:
Today I learned that sometimes you have to pull the kid out of some adults. When I started my day I met with three kindergarten teachers. None of which seemed excited about play. One particular teacher brought her kids to the yard and took a seat on the bench. She didn’t seemed interested to find out what I had in store for the students.

After finishing my intro and stretching I began to play Switch with the students. They seemed so happy to be playing something new and have someone new at the school. They were so excited that one girl went and tried to pull the teacher and make her play. The teacher was reluctant at first. But then I asked her could she help support me by watching one corner of the game. She agreed! After a few minutes she actually went into the game line. She played for the last few minutes of the period. That was great, but it got better. When kindergarten recess began she went and gathered students and began her own section of Switch, without being asked. At the end of recess I went up to her and thanked her for helping out. She responded by thanking me. She said she had not run or played in years, but the way the game made all the students feel included made her feel bad for not at least trying! She said she is super excited to use the things she learns this week in her classroom from now on. She also expressed that whatever help I need the rest of the week she would gladly provide as long as I provide her with a different game each day. Deal!! What does day two hold? I can’t wait to see!

Can the games stay when you leave?” one student asked.

Guess what? We was using Ro Sham Bo in our classroom!another student shared.

Later in the week, Coach Ben Gibboney also met a playful adult:
The highlight of my day occurred during the 5th grade recess. Ms. Gaitlin, a fifth grade teacher, really enjoyed the class game time she watched the day before. She was professionally dressed and was somewhat involved in the games that were happening. Today, as fifth grade walked outside for recess I noticed that she looked different. Ms. Gaitlin came outside wearing athletic shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt.

As soon as I explained the games and got the students involved, I looked over and saw Ms. Gaitlin running full speed to make it to her spot on the switch board. I quickly found time to run over to Switch to give her a high five and comment on her athletic sneakers. Ms. Gaitlin really enjoyed her recess. She played Switch for most of recess. Right before it was time to line up, she was then holding down the serve box in four square and having a great time.

Playworks got Ms. Gaitlin excited about recess and she became a major player during the fifth grade recess.  It was awesome!

Find more photos on our Facebook page.

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