Monday, September 20, 2010
What is so important about recess in the middle?
Today at lunch, like many days, I took the middle school outside to run, play, and connect. At times, we fret about them being out of class, loosely grouped, romping about just before language or math class. But what was clear to some faculty this afternoon was how important it is to let adolescents be, and at the same time quietly observe their social workings. This morning, the 6th grade team discussed two new students who were not connecting to their classmates. The teachers expressed concern, even worry, about the two students inability to mesh with fellow classmates in the class during the first week. I listened, gave my two cents and then made it a goal to make sure I observed these two during the course of the day and the week. Within five minutes of watching, one was seen in a game of freeze tag with seven other girls. The other student? Walking across the field in deep conversation with a 6th grade boy. Both students were clearly fitting in, at least today, connecting and feeling better about being a part of things. Without those unstructured moments kids might not find that place to organically connect. And without watching from a safe distance as they play, talk and be, we might not see the whole child or the entire social picture, limiting our effectiveness as educators, protectors and leaders.