Playworks Emphasizes Safer, Healthier Schoolyard Play
In-school coaches, training help reduce the discipline problems associated with recess – which pediatricians say is critical to healthy development, but can also be the crucible of conflicts between kids
April 17, 2013 — Just a few years ago, Susan McElroy wouldn’t schedule anything at Grout Elementary, where she serves as principal, for the period immediately following recess.
That’s because recess had become the part of the school day when conflicts between students came to a boil – and spilled over into classroom time, so much so that teachers and administrators would count on having to clean up a few messes each day before teaching or returning to administrative work.
But, in a relatively short period of time, all that has changed. McElroy said so far there have only been two suspensions at the southeast Portland grade school this year, down from 54 six years ago when it began collecting data to reduce bullying and other behavioral problems.
Grout now employs a counselor to support children and families, and started using a different approach to discipline – one based on Positive Behavior Support, a research-backed approach to reducing challenging behavior in schools and other settings.