CHANDLER, AZ — A Valley school is looking to reshape recess in order to teach kids leadership skills while cutting down on conflict.
Conley Elementary School in Chandler is looking to make the change next week. Currently, they are training students on the new structure implemented by Playworks.
"We saw a lot of disagreements...physical interactions when they weren't getting along," said Dean of Students Genisha Wright.
The new program will see recess broken down into groups of students who play games on the playground. Some of their peers, tabbed as "junior coaches," will oversee the groups and help settle any disputes.
"Everyone's included, the goal is no one is left out," Wright said. "If there's conflicts during games you will see students playing games such as paper-rock-scissors to resolve those issues."
The students who act as a Junior Coach will learn lessons in leadership.
"Being a leader means, like, making sure nothing bad goes wrong," said fifth-grader Knolan Sandoval.
The hope is students will learn skills including problem-solving, conflict resolution and leadership.
"This is a success if I am walking on the field, or any visitor comes on the field, and they see students problem-solving...and just moving on with the game instead of fighting over it," Wright said. "It's a success when, as a dean, I see less behavior issues coming to my office during recess time."
Wright expressed gratitude for the Chandler Education Foundation as well as the non-profit group Chandler Compadres for funding the program