Students at Thomasville Heights are building skills through imaginative, creative and organized play though its partnership with Playworks!
Approximately three weeks into the 2016-2017 school year, Thomasville Heights Elementary School in Atlanta began a partnership with Playworks Georgia to reintegrate recess and physical activity during the school day for its students. Playworks, a national non-profit organization, believes in the power of positive play to strengthen and transform kids, schools and communities.
Kristina Huff, Thomasville Heights Playworks Coach, leads engaging activities that harness students’ natural curiosity to stretch their imagination and creativity. She helps students build important skills alongside their peers to be physically, emotionally and socially healthy children.
“We are excited that every day there is a new activity, and they are not complicated to learn,” said student N. Ha. “It also teaches us new and different activities that we are not exposed to in a regular school PE setting.”
Playworks activities teach students skills such as problem-solving, peer leadership and conflict resolution in a fun and exciting way on the playground. Since implementing Playworks, Thomasville Heights Elementary has seen a 90 percent decrease in the number of negative incidents at recess.
“Students now thrive at recess and play collaboratively without fighting,” said Dr. Nicole Jones, principal at Thomasville Heights. “When disagreements occur, children enlist the help of the highly-skilled Playworks Coach, utilize their words, and/or settle them through ro-sham-bo!”
Ro-Sham-Bo is Playwork’s version of the commonly known game, ‘rock, paper, scissors’ and is a game that teaches students how to compromise with their peers.
Dr. Jones also noted that the impact of Playworks can be felt inside the classrooms: “We have seen tremendous growth in our students’ skillsets around communication, cooperation and conflict resolution. This has led to an increase in instructional time and as Thomasville Heights implements our project-based learning curriculum, these skills are crucial to student academic success.”
Teachers and staff at Thomasville Heights have been champions for their students’ health by making it a priority to include dedicated time in the school day to provide opportunities for fun and meaningful play.
“Not many schools recognize the importance of recess but having Playworks provides this playtime for our students which is tremendous for both the students and teachers,” said Ms. Mustafa, second grade teacher. “Recess provides time for the kids to let loose, burn energy and regroup. This partnership is invaluable and a necessary part of our curriculum.”