Use the SMART Method to Set Your Recess Goals

What are your recess goals?

Think about your recess or the playtime you set up for kids at home and list three specific goals.

If helpful, use the SMART method. Goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

Here’s an example from one of our Playworks AmeriCorps Coaches, Ralph Kirker, who works with elementary schools in Richmond, California:

Ralph’s Recess Goals
Goal 1: Finalize playground maps with clear boundaries
Goal 2: Increase the number of kids leading games on their own
Goal 3: Train 5 youth coaches to lead on the playground

What are your recess or play goals for this school year? Share them with us.

Stories from the Field

Recess Lab is a place for us all to experiment with the strategies that can effectively solve the unique challenges on our playgrounds or consistent difficulties across our communities. Since introducing strategies they’ve learned through Recess Lab, principals, teachers, schools staff, district administrators, and parents have shared their hopes and questions with us. We’re sharing some of their stories so that we can be collectively inspired to try something new, know we’re not alone, or share suggestions to help others. Share an idea or suggestion that we can send to the full Recess Lab community.

“As a school counselor, recess arguments take up a great deal of my time. Students do a lot of tattling, fighting over teams, and complaining how things are ‘unfair.’ They have a hard time problem solving on their own. I’d love ideas as to how to improve this.”
—Beth O., Outagamie County, Wisconsin

“My third graders are extremely competitive! They act like recess is the Super Bowl or the World Cup. I consistently have students complain about how some of my boys who play travel soccer do not pass the ball. I also have students who are getting hurt because certain students are too rough! How do I teach my students that recess is about having fun with your friends?”
—Claire M., Delaware County, Pennsylvania

“We’d love to expand the options for social play on our playground. We need ideas for inclusive activities. We also hope to use our leadership students as peer problem-solvers AND new game leaders.”
—Mary D., Contra Costa County, California

Do you have a story or question to share with us, or a tip for these professionals who shared theirs with us?

Let us know here.

Playground Mapping Made Easy

Is your playground or play space mapped?

A well-designed playground map is about maximizing safety and fun. When everyone knows where they can play and where to find equipment, kids get more out of recess.

If you’re wondering what I mean or how to get started—or maybe it’s time to update your playground map —check out this awesome Playworks video that breaks down playground mapping in five simple steps:

Want to see how much you’ve progressed on your goals? Take the Recess Checkup today!