The first few weeks of recess was full of perseverance and curiosity. Students watched through a closed gate as workers in bright green vest, drove big trucks and plowed mounds of dirt where our old playground once stood. Many questions were asked. “What are they doing?” “What happened to the playground?” “Are they building a new playground?” and the biggest question of them all, “Will we be allowed to play at the new playground?”
As the weeks passed, students continued to watch tirelessly through the closed gate. Finally, the playground was coming to life. Up went the swings set, then the slides and jungle gym, then the see-saw, rocking animals and two unfamiliar pieces of equipment that spun around in circles. At last! The day has come, DAA gets the okay to utilize the new playground. But, we couldn’t just let the students enjoy the new beautiful park without setting some ground rules. Teachers and staff collaborated on setting norms and modeling what recess should look, sound, and feel like for students.
The first few days did not go as planned because students did not understand how to properly use some the equipment and how to show self control when playing on the equipment, it took a little more modeling and going over recess/playground norms to get it right. We finally came up with the perfect solution, alternating times and days between grade levels. So, some days Kindergarten and 1st grade would stay on DAA’s home field where they can play soccer, play on the monkey bars and other recess equipment, while 2nd and 3rd grade played on the new field and vise versa. This solution worked best for everyone including 4th and 5th grade and now, the new playground as well DAA’s home field is where we get out all of our wiggles and sillies, so when it’s time to get back focused on the joys of learning students will be calm and ready.