Hi there, my name is Amal and I am the Active Play Coordinator with Apple Corps, which is through King County Food and Fitness Initiative. My work is focused in Southwest Seattle in the Delridge and White Center Elementary Schools. I spend most of my time out on the playground playing and having so much fun with the kids. I learn that kids love to be part of activities that adults participate in because it ensures them that it is safe and a positive environment for them to have fun. Having active adult’s present out on the playground gives a wonderful opportunity for kids that are shy, quiet or even hyperactive kids in order to break the barriers and establish a positive relationship for them to play together. I’ve seen this happen and happy that I am part of this. This also encourages kids to discover their personal choices and allows them to explore other opportunities that are necessary for their well-being.
It is challenging to have kids participate in games without a clear structure and lack of a leadership. Therefore, I discover effective ways to create fun and exciting games that are easy to understand and follow each day. Establishing games that are easy to comprehend provides valuable skills and interest for kids. If activities are easy to understand, kids are more likely to get involved and have less pressure to participate.
It’s time to play when I am out on the playground. No exceptions. I make sure that I hold myself accountable and responsible for bringing safe, fun and exciting games for everyone to be involved in. With a unique focus on Game of the Week strategy during recess changes kid’s attitudes effectively, creates fewer conflicts and increases kid’s participations for having fun. I offer a different Game of the Week each day that challenges the culture out on the playground and focuses on a physical activity as a tool to teach kids valuable lessons, such as leadership opportunities and teamwork for success. Kids also learn life-long skills including cooperation, caring, sharing, encouraging and playing fairly for inclusion. It’s important that I recognize and give each student positive feedback regarding their participations whether it is a positive or a negative outcome. The power of positive words gives me the ability to make a difference out on the playground.
Healthy play brings healthy kids together and their staff members as well. Last week, my Game of the Week theme was racing at White Center Heights Elementary School and it was the most successful recess we have ever seen. We had the entire 5th and 6th grade students lined up and ready to race over and over the entire recess. Even kids who love to play nothing, but soccer came over and played the entire recess. Kids who had no intention of racing with other kids shined and had pure joy. Also the Assistant Principal joined the fun and had a great time racing as well. It was truly an unbelievable experience for everyone.