The Play with Potential recess program at Daley Elementary Academy has seen some true success. Each day, the students can be found actively playing and enjoying their time at Cornell Square Park. Students in first through fifth grade follow a structured recess schedule. Each day, they engage in a new activity that promotes teamwork, positive self-esteem, and physical activity. Several of the classes have made a game of running to their recess spot in the park each day- they love to get out and play!
Sixth through eighth grade students were a little more resistant to the structured recess plan, so Recess Coordinator Rose Phinick struck up a deal with them. If they could follow instructions given by the recess supervisors and line up quickly at the end of recess, the twenty-five minute recess period was theirs to do what they pleased. The only condition: they have to keep active. This arrangement helps older students to understand why it’s important for them to do physical activity during recess- they need to re-energize and re-focus so that they can feel good and do their best for the rest of the school day. Rather than being told what to do (a common issue among pre-teens!), Daley’s students can work with Ms. Phinick to make recess fun and satisfactory for everyone.
Recess for Daley’s middle school students has been better than ever. They enjoy the freedom and personal responsibility for their own recess, and are motivated because they know that physical activity is important for their health and academic success.
Every day, Cornell Square Park is filled with football games, soccer tournaments, double dutch jumping, and “walk-and-talks.” Games from the Play with Potential curriculum now begin independently. The students are learning about responsibility and positive consequences through creating their own recess. Play with Potential continues to grow at Daley, with the students taking active involvement in their recess time!