Skip to main content

Liberty Elementary introduces structured recess program to reduce playground issues

Oct 04, 2017 10:03AM ● Published by Julie Slama

Liberty Elementary created zones for recess games to help kids get involved in playground activities. (Shawn Johnson/Liberty Elementary)

This fall, there have been less issues on Liberty Elementary’s playground, thanks to introducing Playworks, a structured recess program.

For fourth-grade teacher Toni Wilkins that means her class can settle right back into studying.

“It was not only during recess, but after recess I’d have to listen to playground concerns and take up class time in front of 25 students to solve issues,” she said. “Now, that has been reduced by kids knowing how to play games, having common rules for the games, knowing what games they can play and having enough playground equipment to play them.”

Beforehand, Wilkins said there would be issues about a student bringing out a ball and taking ownership of a game or the students would get in groups and just talk. Those who would play at recess tried to create playground games from videogames they played.

“It wasn’t playing the games we used to like basketball, four-square or hopscotch. They didn’t know how to play those,” she said.

After one year of a faculty recess committee making some progress, Liberty faculty voted in support of introducing Playworks.

“We were improving, but at a much slower pace and our staff still had some of the same ongoing concerns, said school psychologist Shawn Johnson. “We had an opportunity for Playworks to do a professional development and it gave us more structure as well as the students.”

That structure includes having defined zones assigned to games, such as hopscotch, four-square, Switch, jump rope, basketball games, tag and a soccer game. It also began with faculty and physical education teacher Nicole Wintch teaching the games to students and establishing common rules. More equipment was purchased and placed by the zones where they were needed instead of each teacher purchasing items for individual classes.

In addition, Johnson, Wintch and Principal Jill Burnside help the two recess aides on the playground.

“We will start games, help them get going and move along to another zone to make sure things are going smoothly,” Johnson said. “We’re much more organized and have more painted areas so kids know what’s been played where. In general, it’s easier for kids to join more games as we’re more organized and rules are clearly defined so they’re more comfortable playing with each other.”

Playworks, which began in 1996 and was introduced in Utah in 2011, is a structured recess program that has been introduced to several area schools in recent years to increase positive student interactions, including at nearby Parkside Elementary, which was the first school in Murray School District to become the first Playworks TeamUp partnership in 2016.

Playworks Program Director Ben Cromwell said that is similar to studies that Stanford University conducted on Playworks schools.

“Schools that have Playworks have 43 percent reduced bullying on the playground so students feel safer and are more vigorously active,” he said in 2016. “Students also have better self-management skills and are more responsible. They know how to make decisions and can use conflict resolution skills.”

Utah schools that are involved in Playworks support Cromwell’s statement. According to Playworks website, 97 percent of those Utah schools that responded, say it has had a positive impact on school culture, and 96 percent say there has been an increase amongst students in conflict resolution strategies. Responses show a 99 percent increase in the level of participation in academic activities and 91 percent report a decrease in the number of bullying incidents.

Johnson said already he has seen that it has helped to reduce the likelihood of students engaging in poor social behavior.

“There’s less chance of them getting angry and resulting in arguments about how to play or if someone is cheating as the rules are spelled out. They’re resolving their own conflicts, realizing what’s fair and accepting it,” he said.

While there are still some issues surrounding sportsmanship, Johnson said many of the issues he has seen in the past are improving this school year.

“The students are being more kind and getting to learn how to play more,” he said.

Wilkins agrees: “They’re getting out and playing the games more. The kids are happier.” 

Education
  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/19/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/19/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Halloween Service

    10/22/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join CrossPoint Church for their third annual Halloween service! Children and adults alike are en...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/19/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/19/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/20/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Free Estate Planning for Senior Citizens

    10/20/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    The Utah State Bar's “Serving our Seniors" program seeks to empower senior citizens to take steps...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/20/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • FREE Women's Self Defense Class

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Free Self Defense for women! The third Saturday of every month! We have tons of fun and learn a l...


  • Free October Event DSM Cricket-wireless

    10/21/2017
    02:00PM — 05:00PM

    DeYoung Smart Mobile Cricket October Event with the Helping Paws. October 21st, 2017 2pm-5pm At 5...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/21/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/22/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Halloween Service

    10/22/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join CrossPoint Church for their third annual Halloween service! Children and adults alike are en...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/26/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • R.C.I.A.

    10/26/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    10/26/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/27/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/27/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • Garden After Dark - Adventures in Wonderland

    10/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for an enchanted evening as we journey down the rabbit hole to the whimsical, wonderful w...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    10/30/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/01/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • R.C.I.A.

    11/02/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Instruction Classes

    11/02/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/03/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Garden Adventures - Squishy Squash

    11/04/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Did you know that squash are actually fruits and NOT vegetables? Learn more about squash and disc...


  • Free Anti-Bullying Class

    11/04/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Gracie Barra Sandy hosts a free self defense class once a month on the first Saturday of every mo...


  • Local Authors & You - Booksigning

    11/04/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Saturday, November 4 1-5 pm Are you an aspiring author hoping to be published? Do you enjoy m...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    11/05/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    11/08/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job Fair

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job Fair

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • Salt Lake City Sales Job

    11/09/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    Salt Lake City Professional Career Event - Sales & Management Specific HireLive is a national ...


  • R.C.I.A.

    11/09/2017
    06:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


  • Champions of Magic

    11/09/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Following in the footsteps of Downton Abbey, John Oliver and James Corden, the latest British sen...


  • Murray High School's Brigadoon

    11/09/2017
    07:00PM — 09:30PM

    Murray High Schools Theatre Department's Brigadoon!


  • Instruction Classes

    11/09/2017
    07:45PM — 09:00PM

    Has your child, grandchild, friend ever ask you why Catholic believe this or do that? Can you exp...


 

Online Edition
Follow My City Journals on Facebook
Advertise with us

 

City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974