Recess coaches are the latest trends at some schools across the country. They are playtime professionals that schools hire to take the problems (such as bullying, fighting or just not playing) out of recess and help the kids learn to play cooperatively.
“Jill Vialet started Playworks, then called Sports4Kids, in 1996 after meeting with a beleaguered principal bemoaning the problems of recess. She said that at schools with recess coaches, teachers report reclaiming instructional time that was previously lost to working out kids’ problems. In addition, playing cooperatively and, in some cases, earning leadership roles as “junior coaches,” builds a sense of community among students.”
” ‘The return is a much better place to learn,’ Vialet said.”
“The idea of putting recess in the hands of professionals, however, has drawn criticism from those who feel that childhood today is in danger of being micromanaged by adults. Learning to play cooperatively is an important step in children’s development, and that includes learning how to handle difficult situations, they say.”
“Lee Igel, a New York University assistant professor who has worked with schools as a sports and organizational psychology expert, said recess coaching is well-intended.”
“But the problems it is meant to address, he said — stopping bullying, encouraging inclusion, fostering cooperation — are too wide-ranging and have deeper causes….”
“In addition, Igel said, some of the hard lessons learned on the playground — being picked last for a team, for instance, or not gelling with other kids — often turn into motivation for success, or at least lend perspective, later in life.”
So what do you think: Are professional recess coaches a good thing or a bad thing? Are they necessary — maybe for some schools? Will they help kids learn to play better or does it remove a natural learning process known as the law the playground?
(I have a second blog popping up around p.m. today so stay tuned!)