Cass teachers look at recess a new way

Published 3:39 am Tuesday, October 21, 2003

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS -- Teachers were laughing as they tried to tag each other, while they played Duck, Duck, Goose in the gym at Squires Elementary School Friday afternoon.
They weren't on recess, but it was their free time.
The exercise was just one example that presenter Curt Hinson offered during a two-session presentation of "6-Steps to a Trouble-free Playground."
The workshop was well attended by all of the district staff and teachers, including administration from both elementary schools.
The basic concept Hinson advocates is that recess can be "a fun learning tool" and that children "need ideas given to them about what to play.'
Normally recess can become a time when teachers allow students to let off steam, which can lead to bullying and fights.
A trouble-free playground philosophy, Hinson believes, follows three principles: teaching self-responsibility, nurturing intrinsic motivation, and using the inclusion style of teaching, such as when he includes everyone in the games, instead of allowing only one child to be the "goose."
Hinson went through his six steps which include: teach social skills, change games to make them developmentally appropriate, change the perception of recess, focus on intrinsic motivation and self responsibility, hold a "games day," and use recess as a topic for writing and discussion.
Hinson, an elementary teacher for 16 years from Delaware, offers both his six step book and "Games Kids Should Play at Recess" for sale.