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Original post made
on Feb 6, 2012
"According to Baur, before the introduction of program many children would spend their free time aimlessly wandering around the playground or congregating in groups, which can lead to trouble."
...I thought this was called free play?
Kids no longer have to learn socialisation skills since the adults pair them up. They no longer have to make decisions about what to play since the adults dictate that. No more free play since everything is scheduled and worked out by the adults.
How were these things handled for the last 100 years?
Wow! I work with these children. It is no dictated whatsoever. It is constant free play and if boredom sets in, where mischief would usually ignite, there is an alternative they can turn to. I have watched the play yard go from lots of conflict and trouble making, to "having more choices". They learn team work, cooperation, and that they don't have to cause trouble, there is always a caring, fun adult to turn to to guide them in new skills. There has been less bullying and more cooperation. The kids look forward to this time where they can have choices. If they don't want structured play, there is a playground and swings. Some kids go out to the field and talk. There are more choices and less conflict. I have seen and worked with these children before the program and after. They are so much happier with having more options. It is never forced.
This sounds like a really promising program! If my child's experience is typical at a MV public school the recess chaos and conflicts definitely spill over into the learning time in the classroom. My kid's teachers have been wonderful at helping kids deal with the aftermath created by a chaotic recess but I know that it is eating up valuable learning. Just having "yard duty" adults does not help kids find positive, engaging ways to play together. It looks like this program helps kids learn conflict management approaches and encourages engagement in playground games to get kids active in a positive manner. How do we get this approach piloted in more Mountain View schools???
I was on the ML campus recently during recess and this program is AMAZING! The article is great, but does not come close to describing the fun and exciting recess that Cathy Baur and Playworks have created for the kids at ML. I did see numerous games/activities including jump rope, some kind of tag, 4 square, hockey and soccer come to mind...BUT what was most impressive to me was that the students appeared to know and follow rules of each game...someone scored in hockey, one team dropped their sticks and lined back up for another turn...this happened a couple of times during the recess....AND there was no adult running the game...just two kids in purple "playworks" shirts and lots of kids appearing to have fun. I saw Coach Titus in action. I saw him handing out equipment, checking game set-ups, talking with kids and hopping into games to join in on the fun.
I was on the ML campus during recess before Cathy Baur and Coach Titus arrived and I am SUPER thankful for everything we observed on our recent visit. They have created more than a bunch of "fun choices"...they appear to be teaching leadership, good sportsmanship, respect, cooperation, etc., etc., etc.
I saw the dramatic difference on the ML campus first hand. I know this recess project took a LOT of hard work from lots of people to make such a huge change(in only 3 years)...and Cathy Baur and Coach Titus and all the adults supporting the education of SAFE, FUN and ACTIVE play options during recess at ML...KUDOS on your hard work! Making changes that directly impact the children in our community in such a positive way seems rare these days....THANK YOU!!!!!
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