I don’t know about where you are, but here in New England, our winters are cold and snowy. This means that we often have indoor recess or, if we do go outside, it’s not terribly fun.
Our PTF (parent-teacher forum) came up with the idea of a Recess Program. Students are given a list of a variety of activities that will take place during recess. They choose the top 3 activities that they are interested in attending. The PTF then goes through the forms and places each student in one of their top choices. The program runs once a week, for about 6 weeks.
This is an optional program, students are not required to participate. Normal recess takes place while the program is going on for students who choose not to go. However, if students sign up, they are expected to attend each time.
The program uses volunteers from the community, who come in during all recess times. They set up in empty rooms or spaces around the school. The activities vary each year, based on the skills of the volunteers.
Here are a few of the activities that students can choose from:
Legos – Lego blocks are donated by the community. Students are able to build structures to their heart’s content!
Yoga – An instructor comes in to teach students a variety of yoga moves. Students are reminded to wear comfortable clothes/shoes on recess program day!
Karate – Similar to yoga, an instructor comes to share different karate moves for students to learn. Again, they are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
Sign Language/Foreign Language – a volunteer who is fluent in a foreign language shares their knowledge with the students. They usually do just basic vocabulary, but the kids love this one! They are always excited to share their new words with me.
Art – this session can take two forms. Sometimes it is structured, where the parent volunteer plans crafts for the students to create. Other times, it is open-ended and the students are able to just draw.
All of the materials are either donated by the community or use the funds raised by PTF. Students are not charged any money to participate in this program.
It is a great program to mix things up during the doldrums of cold winters!