Health Check Kids: Recess Rocks

The Recess Rocks program that gets all Rhode Island children involved will be expanding next school year. (WJAR)

The Recess Rocks program that gets all Rhode Island children involved will be expanding next school year.

Leo Savoie Elementary School is one of the seven newest schools on board in Woonsocket.

"Recess has always been a challenge for us because kids are competitive, but they're used to playing with their siblings and not in large groups," said Donna Coderre, Savoie principal.

"I've seen kids alone, sitting alone, not playing with any kids. I thought we needed something," said Jenny Chan-Remka, assistant superintendent of Woonsocket schools.

That something was Recess Rocks, a program designed by Playworks.

"I trained this school back in March," said Jill Barry of Playworks.

The educators are trained by Playworks and then they teach the students. The games are all about inclusion and fun.

"Also, the games themselves are designed so that conflict resolution is built in to the games. So, when we teach a new tag game, for instance, we talk about how do we tag each other. We use butterfly tags," said Barry. "We can only tag each other on certain parts of the body -- on the shoulder, upper arm. So, in that way, we're already eliminating the conflicts that could arise."

Chan-Remka said she sees "100 percent participation" at all seven elementary schools in Woonsocket.

"If you notice they do rock, paper, scissors shoot whenever there's a conflict and whoever wins, wins, and that's the end of it," said Coderre.

And while the games are competitive, "We help each other out by cheering them on and just like telling them which ring is best to shoot," said Zachery Plante, a third-grader at the school. "If the other team loses we just say, 'Oh, guys. You guys did good."

The Recess Rocks program in Rhode Island is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, and it will continue to fund the program next school year, bringing 25 more schools in to the mix

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