Reimagining Recess Has Arrived!
New Program Sets Your Team — and Students — Up for Success
Evaluation Criteria: Creating a Culture, Improving Instruction
James Layman
AWSL Director
Dr. Dedy Fauntleory
Principal, Northgate Elementary, Seattle PS
Brian Fraser
Principal, White Salmon Elementary, White Salmon Valley SD
Neil Varble
Assistant Principal, Captain Strong Primary Strong, Battle Ground PS
Cathy Sork
Principal, Dorothy Fox Elementary, Camas SD
“In this world of masks and social distancing, Reimagining Recess is just what children (and adults) need to begin healing.”
— Dr. Dedy Fauntleroy (Northgate Elementary, Seattle PS)
AWSL has been dedicated to creating and developing timely, meaningful, and relevant programs for schools, students, and staff. During the summer of 2020, the AWSL developed several new programs: Find Your Vision, Calling All Superheroes, and now, Reimagining Recess. Reimagining Recess is training for paraeducators, recess, and school staff at the elementary level. To create opportunities for school staff to learn games that don’t require props, conflict resolution strategies, and strength-based approaches, Reimagining Recess has been a hit since its inception in the fall of 2020. The AWSL Team has had the privilege of bringing this training to over 20 schools and districts. The Reimagining Recess training aligns with our commitment to providing quality programs that infuse our participants' fun, hope, and joy. Investing PBIS, SEL, and inclusionary practices into this training – Reimagining Recess sets your team up for success. We have gathered and captured insights from School Leaders and participants on the impact of Reimagining Recess in their schools: “Our team here at White Salmon has been looking for high-quality training for recess staff for years, but it has been difficult to find. So when the chance to work with AWSL through their Reimagining Recess program came up, we were thrilled. The two main takeaways were the team building amongst the staff and moving from ‘supervising’ to actually guiding play with inclusive games. The activities that we were led through were a lot of fun and a great way to start off the year together, getting us to communicate and work well together while planning for our kids to return full-time in person. Since the training, we've taught new games to our kids and specifically used those interactions to bring in kids who were not involved or engaging with their peers. It is wonderful to have our kids back and even better to see them all playing and having fun together. Coming back after a major disruption, we think the kids needed help connecting with each other more than ever. As a principal, I know that every moment of the day is a learning experience for kids, but I wasn’t dedicating the time to our recess and lunch that it deserved. Reimagining Recess was a great starting point to refine those systems.”
– Brian Fraser, Principal, White Salmon Valley SD
Over the past few years, our building has been looking at how to improve recess to improve inclusiveness, safety, and fun; this training enabled our teams to add more tools to our toolbox for the year, with examples for COVID play as well as non-COVID play.
“The training was engaging with lots of fun games.”
– Samantha Cooper, Staff, White Salmon SD
“We learned games to guide interaction that got us out of our comfort zones. We can use those games to get all kids included at indoor and outdoor recess.” Christian Morris, Staff, White Salmon SD "It has been really useful to give kids something to do in the transition between lunch and recess after they eat and before they are dismissed. Student engagement through games!” – Karynn Campbell, Staff, White Salmon SD “Reimagining Recess was an absolute pleasure for my recess and PBIS team to attend! The AWSL Team did an excellent job engaging our team while providing real-world scenarios and examples that we could implement on day one for our school. Over the past few years, our building has been looking at how to improve recess to improve inclusiveness, safety, and fun; this training enabled our teams to add more tools to our toolbox for the year, with examples for COVID play as well as non-COVID play. The way that so many of the examples explicitly encouraged all kids to participate was exceptional! During our building start-up days, we demonstrated some of the activities with our entire staff. I have even seen classroom teachers trying these games as getting-to-know-you activities during the first few days of school. This was definitely one training that could have gone longer, and no one would have minded since it was so engaging and pertinent to what we strive to do for our students on a daily basis.” – Neil Varble, Assistant Principal, Captain Strong Primary Strong, Battle Ground PS “AWSL taught us to reimagine recess at our first post-quarantine staff meeting. As a leader, it was the best year-opening PD I have ever experienced. Our staff was able to reconnect, collaborate and focus on relationships during this interactive, SUPER fun Reimagining Recess PD. It brought back the magic of creativity, collaboration, positivity, and joy to recess games. Like many schools, our idea of recess was order, rules, and waiting in line for your turn. Reimagining recess games invites children to be in control of their own play while encouraging collaboration, inclusiveness, supportiveness, and safety. In this world of masks and social distancing, Reimagining Recess is just what children (and adults) need to begin healing.” – Dr. Dedy Fauntleory, Principal, Northgate Elementary, Seattle PS “At my school, we believe that recess is a valuable time of every student's day. We prioritize recess as a time to promote social and emotional learning and development for our K-5 students. Our school mission is to collectively cause growth and belonging for all students, and we were looking for ways to train our supervision staff to facilitate and support students to a greater degree. We were pleased to be able to bring the "Reimagining Recess" program to Dorothy Fox Elementary School in SW Washington with the help of a grant from our local education foundation. This program provided a way to empower our classified staff to better engage students during unstructured times of the day. We came together as a playground staff to kick off the year and included all our para educators from our SPED education program who also support students on the playground. The AWSL Team was a delight to work with, as they modeled a variety of activities and provided the 'why' behind these approaches. In addition to sharing games that can work in socially distanced settings, they helped staff empathize with diverse students and reflect on their role as supporting adults. Our staff saw that it could be as simple as a small tweak to a game rule to as big as teaching a new large group game that can shift what students take away from recess. As principal, I observed a team of adults who started out a little shy and timid come out of their shells during the training and have some fun together as a team-building bonus. Yet, feedback from participants showed that they most appreciated the opportunity to develop a clearer vision of what they could do to support students and create ways to include everyone. As a result, the team felt more "on the same page" and understood a student's perspective more significantly. I saw some of the ideas that the team acquired used right away. Paras are engaging kids more during transition times in positive ways. The team is using some of these ideas during line-up times and in the cafeteria. We will be implementing the ‘Calling All Superheroes’ Program as a school in the winter, and it will be a great connection and revisit of what we started with Reimagining Recess. The Reimagining Recess Program not only gave my staff practical strategies and games to facilitate, but it also helped to grow our mindset as adults who have the power to enhance the playground environment for all kids.” – Cathy Sork, Principal, Dorothy Fox Elementary, Camas SD This program and training are available year-round for your school and staff. The AWSL Team is eager and excited to bring this right to your front door. So let’s get excited about reimagining, reinventing, and recreating engagement and empowerment for our students.
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Association of Washington School Principals
Washington Principal | Volume 1– 2021-22