The Recess Corner
Ongoing information and news about recess at Bronxville Elementary School
Children Build New Objects with ‘Imagination Playground’ Blocks
Rocket ships, racetracks, skyscrapers and robots are coming to life every day at Bronxville Elementary School’s playground during recess. Students are using their imagination, creativity and several blue, lightweight blocks to build these new objects.
Kindergarteners through fifth-graders are using “Imagination Playground” blocks for the first time this year. The purchase of these blocks, which come in the shape of cubes, bricks, curves and cylinders that fit together, was made possible through a Bronxville School Foundation grant.
Recess and the Bronxville Promise
As parents and educators, we understand the importance of recess in the day-to-day life of a child. Recess time gives students the opportunity to practice the skills and dispositions that are essential to their overall social, emotional, and academic development. As part of the Bronxville Promise, Bronxville School has made a commitment to support and encourage students in their ongoing growth as critical thinkers, innovators, leaders and engaged citizens.
During recess and lunch, students practice leadership often, sometimes by gathering a group to begin a new game, or by helping to resolve a dispute among friends. There are also multiple examples of creativity each day, whether it is second graders wearing cones as hats, first graders "selling ice-cream" on the playground, or fourth graders collaboratively modifying the rules of a well-known sport. Recess and lunch time provide innumerable opportunities for those informal and unplanned "teachable moments" that often end up becoming important life lessons.
Recess Mission Statement and Core Values
Recess at Bronxville Elementary School is an essential part of a student’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Recess provides opportunities for students to engage in constructive, joyful play and socialization, and enables them to practice the skills and dispositions essential to their future success as productive citizens: problem solving, collaboration, creativity, resilience, leadership, and concern for others.
Support students’ need for daily moderate to rigorous physical activity outdoors, weather permitting
Offer appealing play materials and equipment that encourage various types of play, including physical, imaginative, constructive, creative, and academic
Establish and communicate rules of play that are safe but not overly restrictive
Foster development of inclusive behavior and character education
Support recess supervisors by providing them with strategies to encourage positive peer interactions and strategies for conflict resolution
From Protest to Positive Change: A Story of Students Learning to Lead
Back in May, the fifth grade recess football games were becoming increasingly more physical. Despite the two-hand touch rule, players were often ending up on the ground, usually because two-hand touch turned into two-hand shove. It soon became clear that new rules needed to be put in place.
The new rules included using a "butterfly touch" (finger tips only) instead of the regular two-hand touch and limiting the number of students per team to six per side. This set off major discontent and much complaining among the fifth grader players. Many felt that the game was no longer worth playing. Assistant Principal Adrienne Laitman then asked for volunteers to meet with her to discuss the situation. She explained that there were positive, respectful ways to advocate for change. During the discussion, Laitman emphasized the need for safety; the old way of playing was not working. The students listened carefully, then made a number of suggestions that allowed for a way to play that was safe but also enjoyable. The committee, consisting of Theo Veru, Tommy Garofalo, Chris Scotti, and James Balseiro, decided to pilot the use of flags and limit the team size to eight. Committee members then went to each homeroom class to explain the rules.
The new version of the game was widely accepted and allowed for safer play overall. In the end, fifth graders successfully resolved a difficult situation by carefully considering the opposing point of view and working collaboratively to come up with a win-win solution.
New in 2015-16: Access to Playground for All, More Options for Play
Imagination Playground Blocks
Thanks to the Bronxville School Foundation, next year the Elementary School students will be able to play with Imagination Playground blocks,light weight big blue blocks that encourage collaborative, imaginative play! The current plan is to section off a part of Hayes Field for the block play during outdoor recess and move them to the South Playroom for inside recess. (The blocks will be stored in movable carts.)
GaGa Comes to Bronxville!
In the spring of 2014, a group of fifth graders submitted a grant proposal to the Bronxville School Foundation for the installation of a GaGa pit. A few of the grant committee members had played the game at camp and thought it would be an excellent addition to outdoor recess. And were they ever right! The GaGa pit has proved to be one of the most popular games during recess time for fourth and fifth graders. Recently, rubber flooring, guard rails, and entry notches were added to provide for safer play.
The game is played with one ball as players try to get one another out by hitting the ball below someone's knee. If you are one of the last two remaining, you are a winner, and a new round begins.The game is inclusive (up to 25 players at one time) fast-paced and fun, with no previous skills required. There are various versions of the game; here are the rules for our school. Next year, students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades will have access to the Gaga Pit during outdoor recess.
New Building Materials and Art Supplies for Inside Recess
Thanks to the this year's fifth graders, inside recess will never be the same!
In addition to the Imagination Playground blocks, older students will also have new materials during inside recess game including art materials for weaving, wood-building, origami and beading.
New, exciting materials for building are also on the way: Zometools, marble runs, and K'nex!