Monday, March 3, 2014

Rethinking Recess

When you look back at your time in school and think about recess, how do you feel? When I think back on it, I only remember a couple of times, one being a boy-chasing activity and one being a day when a friend of mine and I had a spat that got ugly and blew up into two camps saying some pretty mean things back and forth. Oh, and I remember the boys throwing rocks up at the bell to make it "ring" and the feeling of one of those rocks falling right down into my eye. For many kids, though, recess is a stressful experience every single day.

I thought at least some of you would appreciate knowing about an initiative at my school. A group of us teachers got together recently to discuss the fact that recess is supposed to be a down-time, an enjoyable, pleasant time; but for a lot of kids it isn't. We've started brainstorming alternative recess activities and how to supervise them (since recess time is also teachers' lunch time).

We've so far come up with some great options:

*tending our school garden
*some kind of activity in the forest, which is on-campus
*reading in the library
*tournaments of one kind or another
*training for a local 5K

A few of us volunteered to sometimes give up our lunches in order to provide alternative activities to kids at recess; one teacher will be taking kids to a gym to play dodgeball. Another volunteered to run intermural basketball.We thought about finding ways to include community volunteers to help supervise or run activities. We think that if we offer other options, then maybe there will be less bullying on the playground by kids who don't know what else to do with themselves.

I know I work at an amazing school. I honestly wish every child could be at a school like ours. Maybe by sharing this, others can be inspired to problem-solve recess issues at their schools. If you have any ideas for our committee, too, do share!

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