Playground Story of the Week

A positive playground story from Coach Blake

Playworks’ Junior Coach program allows students to help our coaches facilitate recess, and more importantly has the power to teach these students valuable, wide-ranging skills along the way. The following story exemplifies how the power of the Junior Coach program significantly improved one student’s attitude and focus on responsibilities.


          A student who I will call John is a 3rd grader new to the school and a year older than most of his classmates. In the beginning of the school year, I was able to have him out at recess with me or in charge of the equipment. He was labeled as the “bad kid” and in the “bad class” by some of the students, and unfortunately, his poor behavior in class was resolved by having him skip recess. His teacher, the school’s resource team, and I have been collaborating on what we could do to maximize his time with positivity. John does very well whenever he is with me, so I thought it would good to make him a Junior Coach. However, Junior Coaches are traditionally for 4th and 5th graders only, so I created “Freshman Coaches” as an opportunity for 3rd graders to contribute to their school through leadership.

          They are allowed to “work” before school recess if they are exhibiting good leadership skills. I saw this as a great opportunity for John. I talked to him and his teacher about the conditions to which he can participate and how excited I was to have him join. He has been with me for 2 days and I can already see an improvement in his choices and attitude. John thrives when he has responsibilities and tasks to complete. According to one of his resource teachers, John comes to her after recess excited and proud of being a Freshman Coach. I am so happy that he enjoys being a Freshman Coach, and that it is positively impacting him. I can not wait to see how he grows the rest of the year.

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