The Recess Guardian Impact

Why do we do what we do? We remember recesses being the best thing since sliced bread. As kids, recess was our chance at freedom--our chance to break away from the constraints of multiplication tables and social studies to go kick a ball, jump rope, run until we were blue in the face, and to just be kids. What we discovered in many of our community schools was that this was not the same experience for many of the children. Instead of being a quick break to let off some steam, socialize with friends, and improve physical literacy and coordination, recesses have become somewhat chaotic. A large portion of discipline-related problems in school occur during lunch and recess. Students were being bullied and solicited by outsiders for gangs, prostitution and drug activity. Rather than feeling confident and energized, students were returning from recess upset, aggressive, hurt, and unable to concentrate. In some cases, many schools were forced to take away recess time in order to meet this challenge.

Recess Guardians is taking back the playground and making recess fun again! To do this, we empower students to become leaders and take responsibility for their own playground. By equipping them with the skills and equipment to lead activities on their playground, we are already seeing some tremendous results:

  • A decrease in bullying and exclusivity on the playground
  • Better and teamwork cooperation among students
  • Increased interest in physical activity and exercise
  • Improved performance in studies
Our Playground program has been in operation for five years and we have found that the students are enjoying the activities and leadership that are being provided by their peers on the playground. The majority of the students at Vincent Massey Community School are now active during recess time. Given the proper equipment and leadership, the students have found success with their outside time on the playgound. This school year, a 10-minute afternoon recess has been added to the school schedule that was not there before. Our school is committed to providing Playgound Leadership becuase we have seen it make a difference
— Shannon, Vincent Massey Community School
St. Michael Community School has embraced the Recess Guardian Program for the last two years. This three month program runs after school for one hour, once a week. Two dynamic leaders share a wealth of knowledge leading our students through new skills and fun activities. The emphasis is on having a positive attitude, team building and of course learning activities that those students can take onto the playground or share in the classroom. It is wonderful to see so many students staying after school to participate in this program. This is the perfect program to help build the leaders of tomorrow.
— Gail, St. Michael Community School