The power of play is essential to student success and our SEL Dallas staff are learning new ways to use play to engage students. The SEL Dallas After School staff recently engaged in their third Playworks training, hosted by Big Thought. These Playworks trainings give After School staff, teachers and school staff tools they can utilize to deepen student leadership and positivity through play, as well as giving students a sense of teamwork and community.
This year’s training coach was 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist and Playworks Program Manager, Nia Abdallah. Born and raised in Houston, TX, Nia competed in the sport of Taekwondo most of her life and won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Incorporating competitive and collaborative play she brings valuable skills and knowledge of the importance of high quality play and recess.
This was the first time Nia was requested to train our staff and they raved about how high engaging she was. The SEL staff had the opportunity to work engage in pretend recess, work with their campus team on new recess structures and develop a sense of how they’ll incorporate Playworks at their campus. The staff also created a map of their school playgrounds to take deeper dive into where these practices can be held.
This work is so imperative because high quality recess contributes to the executive function, emotional self-control, resilience, and positive classroom behavior in elementary school children. SEL Specialist Deborah Carey and Christina Kelso also shared their experience during the recent Playworks training and they are excited to implement this work at their campuses. Every school should have Playworks!