The playground at South Point Elementary East Grand Forks is a bit more orderly these days, after school officials decided that there was too much rowdiness at recess and directed the students to play organized games.
Now the kids play kickball and other playground games, said the Fargo Forum.
And it seems to be working. So far, only four students have been sent to the principal’s office for recess-related problems. Last year at this time, there’d been 52 recess incidents.
“We just didn’t like what we were seeing, and it was the same kids engaged in the same things and the same kids getting hurt,’ said principal Suraya Driscoll. “It was time for something different.”
To solve the problem, the paper said:
Driscoll did research on what the school could do, and found the book “6-Steps to a Trouble-free Playground.” The book’s plan, with the principles of responsibility, intrinsic motivation and inclusion, seemed like a good starting point.
Faculty members started slowly, and began implementing the plan at the end of September. This newer take on recess puts the focus of behavior on the students themselves — each day, the kids self-evaluate if they were acceptable, unacceptable or outstanding.
That teaches problem-solving and has a better effect on their behavior, Driscoll said. “Kids prefer that to being punished and threatened. It comes from within, and they figure it out.”
Staff and parents like it, but do the kids? They told the paper they do:
[Fifth grader] Alexis Gordon said the changes have even made recess a safer time. “We used to play this bumper game on the slide, and everybody would just get tackled,” she said. “Since I’m so little, I would end up on the bottom, and I would get hurt.”