A magnificent rainbow appeared in the northeastern sky during a recent K-5 recess. How lucky the students, “recess duty” teachers, and I were to witness the rainbow in its full glory and as it faded to become a vivid memory. For some students, it was the first rainbow they had seen. “Rainbow, rainbow” was excitedly chanted and communicated by the students; word spreads fast on the playground when something unusual occurs. A first grader reported to me that there is a “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow, but the end was not on our playground. We experienced changing weather in a short time; a few drops of rain fell, and then the sun came out again. The rainbow sighting led to scientific discussions, drawings, and even a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
This was a particularly exciting recess, but there are interesting discoveries made every day: ice crystals, special rocks, leaves, and sticks; insects, mud, litter from unknown sources, and an occasional mystery object that is taken to the science room for identification.
Some schools no longer schedule recess for safety and other reasons, but at LRS we believe it is an important time for students to work and play independently and collaboratively, supervised, but free to use their time as they choose. Building rock shops, playing touch football, and choreographing song and dance numbers are currently popular. Swinging, sliding, sledding, playing tag, tennis baseball, and What’s Up; digging in the sand, and imaginative play are perennial favorites. This unstructured time allows students to interact, initiate, and plan activities with the K-5 students on the playground. Many activities include students of every age. “We are all friends in school,” and “You can’t say you can’t play” are school and playground mottos. “Have fun” is too!