A program that teaches Saskatchewan kids to play
It might seem odd that a program teaching kids to be kids is needed in the province, but ‘Recess Guardian' founder Mike McDonald says the proof is on the playground --and in a recent report that says 87 percent of Saskatchewan youths do not get regular, healthy levels of exercise. "Kids are either on their Game-Boys or on their cell phones or they're just standing around talking and they're not being active at all," says McDonald.
The Recess Guardians program empowers kids to become leaders; they learn fun and active games and then they are responsible for teaching the games and leading other students in play. The program has already made its way into eleven schools across the province and has proven to turn non-active, withdrawn students into leaders. The program recently started in Confederation Park School. The school's community coordinator, Melinda Brown, says though it's such a simple concept, it has the potential to really curb classroom boredom.
"In January when it's forty below and we're stuck inside for almost the entire month, they can support the teachers in the classrooms by going in and playing classroom games with the kids during the winters."
The success of the program led to a partnership and sponsorship with Saskatchewan Blue Cross. Arnie Arnott, Blue Cross President and CEO, says this program is another way to promote physical activity in kids.
"We were amazed, first of all, we didn't realize how many schools have stopped having recess and that was something we weren't aware of. So to see that there is this program that can actually bring it back in a constructive, productive, incredibly positive way, it just so fits in with our Push to Play initiative."
Mike McDonald is hoping to eventually have the program run in 40 schools across the province, but with more active programs means more sponsorship and volunteers are needed, He says the program has the ability to change students and put the ‘play' back into ‘playground'.