Recess guardians program teaching Loon Lake students to be more inclusive

With cell phones and social media, outdoor games at recess seem like a thing of the past, but a school in Loon Lake is working to curb that and improve socialization between students with its 'recess guardians'.

Ernie Studer School Teacher Jody Freyman said a presentation was made in November to teach Grade Four and Five students the recess guardian program; how to play with each other but also how they can teach older and younger students the games as well.

“It’s all about getting back to how we played when we were kids and playing games with each other,” she said.

The presentation also taught students how to have fun with very little equipment while also taking games kids already know, like rock-paper-scissors, and teaching different ways to play them.

Recess guardians was formed by the Blue Cross in 2008.

According to its testimonial page, teachers and administrators have seen an increase of bullying during recess and in some cases, solicitation for gangs, drugs and prostitution.

“They (the kids) loved the presentation, they were super excited and planned activities to play with little kids,” Freyman said. “Lots of them took on a leadership role, planning games with the internet and finding equipment, then taking the games outside and playing with younger students.”

The leaders were dubbed the recess guardians.

Months after the presentation, kids in Loon Lake are still planning different games.

“It’s been a really positive influence and it’s shown the kids they can play with anyone and not just kids in their own grades while being more accepting of differences,” Freyman said.

While the recess guardians are the students themselves, Freyman added staff pitches in as well, helping them plan activities and gather materials.

So far, Ernie Studer School is the only one in the Northwest School Division to have implemented the recess guardian program and Freyman said she recommends other schools to implement it as well.

According to the program, schools which implement the program have a proven track record with a decrease in bullying and exclusivity on the playground, better teamwork, an increased interest in physical activity and improved study performance.


On twitter: @coltonswiderski

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