At Twin Peaks Elementary School, we believe in the value of recess for children and their learning. Unlike many schools, we have intentionally chosen to retain and enhance recess, rather than reduce it. At our school, children receive either a break or recess mid-morning. They also receive recess before lunch.
Many schools combine recess with lunch. In some schools, children are given the option of going to the playground as soon as they finish eating. Research has found that when given this choice, children eat less as they have a tendency to throw away their food in order to play longer. Students who do eat their entire lunch and then play are more likely to become nauseated from exercising on a full stomach. For these reasons, children at Twin Peaks go to recess first. Then, they wash their hands and go to the cafeteria. Students who eat slowly are allowed to stay in the cafeteria to finish eating after their class leaves when requested or needed. Let your child’s teacher know if your child is coming home hungry and needs more time to eat.
To make recess a positive experience for all of our students, we have implemented PBnJ Kids and Peaceful Playgrounds.
PBnJ Kids was created by our school counselor, Shari Attebery, and stands for Peers Bringing Joy. At the beginning of the school year, students in older grades apply for PBnJ Kids. Selected students receive training from Mrs. Attebery. Then, they take turns leading games on the playground. Students receive tickets for participating with the PBnJ Kids. Participation tickets are drawn for prizes during our monthly school spirit assemblies.
Peaceful Playgrounds is a program that our school purchased and implemented to reduce conflict and increase fun on the playground. Twice each year students go through a field day style training where they rotate through all of the activities available on the playground. They learn the specific rules for how to play each game, and these rules are posted for them. Children have fewer disagreements when everyone understands exactly how to play the game fairly using a common set of rules. Some of the games include: football, soccer, horse, 4-square, tetherball, bowling dodgeball, and alphabet track. The games included in the training vary for younger and older children. Students also learn how to use the play master appropriately and how to pick up and return the various play equipment available to them such as balls and sand toys. One of the goals of Peaceful Playgrounds is to reduce congestion on the playground by offering a variety of fun activities throughout the entire space. Another requirement is to ensure that there is at least one piece of equipment available for every ten children. In addition to rules and procedures for each specific game, children also learn rules for overall participation.
Peaceful Playground Rules
- We value “Fair Play.” (There are no freebies or do overs. When you are out of a game, someone else gets a turn.)
- You can’t say, “You can’t play.” (Everyone is invited to participate in any game of their choice. You can’t exclude anyone.)
- Use “Walk,” “Talk,” or “Rock” to solve conflicts.
- Walk: Walk away and go play something else.
- Talk: Talk out the problem. PBnJ Kids are here to help you.
- Rock: Play rock, paper, scissors. The winner makes the decision or goes first.
- We agree to play by the rules. (Everyone abides by the same rules that are posted on the playground and taught during the training.)
- Bullies are cruel and bystanders rule! (This is a peaceful playground. All are welcome and accepted no matter what you look like or who you are. Bystanders are asked to get an adult playground monitor to help resolve big sized problems such as bullying.)
Peaceful Playground Training
Children will receive Peaceful Playground Training during the first week of school and at the start of the second semester. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grades will be trained on one day, and students in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades on another. Be sure your child wears sun screen, a hat, and tennis shoes for the training. Send an extra water bottle for your child to stay hydrated during the training. The training starts at 8:00 a.m. and lasts 45 minutes.
Thank you for choosing Twin Peaks Elementary School for your child’s growth, development and learning. We are excited to offer a positive, peaceful recess experience as a component of an overall outstanding education.