The foursquare court is often the scene of heated recess debates, but it doesn’t have to be. As a Playworks Coach, I get to teach kids how to play together in ways that prevent conflict during “class game time” with each grade.
During a recent lesson, I asked my students if they knew the definition of inclusion. They offered some textbook definitions, such as letting someone join your game if they ask. We then learned the rules of foursquare and started a game.
After playing, I asked again what inclusion looked like. The students returned simple answers, but with excitement: “Everyone got a turn to touch the ball,” “We were all playing by the same rules,” “They made sure I knew how to play,” “I felt happy.”
We tied these ideas and feelings to other games and roles in the classroom. One student, Susan, summed it all up perfectly. “I felt like I belonged,” she reflected. “I’m glad I saw that my classmates will play with me. I think they might do it again sometime.”
Empowering kids to be welcoming can start on the playground. By discovering how inclusive games make them feel, kids can translate social and emotional lessons into their everyday experiences.