School Program Gets Kids Moving with ‘Recess Coaches’

Playworks and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass. partner up to bring ‘recess coaches’ to more than 14,000 students.

Junior Coaches (5th grade leaders) at the Manning School in Jamaica Plain. The Manning won the Boston Moves for Health elementary school physical activity challenge. Photo provided.

Junior Coaches (5th grade leaders) at the Manning School in Jamaica Plain. The Manning won the Boston Moves for Health elementary school physical activity challenge. Photo provided.

We covered the BOKS program,which brings physical activity to schools before class starts, but now Boston Public School students in 31 schools across the city will get “recess coaches” to help coach and track kids’ physical activity at recess as well. Playworks, a national nonprofit organization that provides play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day, is partnering up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) to turn recess into a safe, fun, and active time so students can return to the classroom focused and ready to learn. The program also teaches children to resolve conflicts that may arise at recess so that the problems don’t carry over into the classroom. New Balance and The Boston Foundation are the program’s funding partners.

This partnership is a part of Mayor Tom Menino’s Boston Moves for Health campaign. Every day at recess, Playworks “coaches” track physical activity levels at each of their schools, and so far, Playworks says the results have been remarkable. Despite snow and cold weather this past winter, 14,000 Playworks students have already logged 110,686 miles during the first two-weeks of a physical activity challenge.

BCBSMA associates that spend time volunteering as “recess coaches” are seeing their own fitness levels improve as well. The volunteers have doubled their fitness goals through tracking their own efforts on company-issued pedometers. Starting March 28, both companies will team up for monthly recess coaching at the Dever-McCormack school in Dorchester.

“By investing in Playworks, Blue Cross has exemplified how a company can work to improve both the community and their workforce,” says Playworks Executive Director, Max Fripp. “Through creating shared values, our partnership has demonstrated results for both students and their associates.”

 

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