Playworks at Inter-American

For one week this past spring, our school community experienced something very special during recess.As part of a city-wide demonstration, the non-profit program Playworks brought staff "recess coaches" to IAMS where they introduced students to new activities and unique ideas for outside play. Playworks staff organized kids into games like four square and "Mr. Fox," and identified natural leaders amongst the kids ("junior coaches") to help shape more dynamic and challenging play. Reports from students and teachers across various grade levels confirmed an enthusiastic embrace of this exciting program.

Most exciting of all, however, is the end-of-the-school-year news that Playworks has been budgeted for IAMS during the 2011-2012 school year! This is a monumental development for our school community since it promises a dedicated, full-time Playworks staff member to ensure a meaningful recess and before or after-school physical activities. Parents will hear about all sorts of new games, like three-line basketball, and see how IAMS children are learning about team-work, conflict resolution, and positive leadership traits—all during recess! Teachers can expect better results in the classroom, since studies have proven that effective recess actually returns valuable instructional time: kids who have been at play are calmer and more poised to learn.

Special acknowledgement is extended to Nancy Zwick, chair of the IAMS Wellness Committee, for her tireless effort in securing and promoting the Spring 2011 rollout of Playworks at our school, and to Dr. Vallez for supporting the larger effort to keep our kids both physically and mentally healthy through play. The Wellness Committee will be actively raising monies to help support Playworks during the upcoming year; if you are interested in helping to fundraise for this effort, please contact Nancy Zwick at

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