Feb 2, 2023

Recess Rocks in RI invites schools across the state to participate in activities, trainings for Active Indoor Recess Week, Feb. 6-10

The event is a partnership between Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Playworks New England, and Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition  

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Feb. 1, 2023) –Winter in New England – with its cold, rainy and snowy days – often puts the kibosh on outdoor recess. Fortunately, there are many creative ways to offer recess indoors -- while still providing opportunities for the physical activity and social interactions that children need to thrive, grow, and stay healthy. 

But with all the demands placed on schools and teachers, how can they readily learn ways to take their indoor recess to the next level? 

That’s the goal of Active Indoor Recess Week, a program of Recess Rocks in Rhode Island. The second annual event, to be held Feb. 6-10, promotes the importance of recess -- even when stuck inside -- and offers educators free and easily accessible training and resources to make indoor recess both enriching and enjoyable.  

All public and charter schools in Rhode Island are invited to take part in Active Indoor Recess Week’s fun and games. Register at https://www.rihsc.org/active-indoor-recess.html). Schools and educators that sign up will receive daily emails featuring activities and resources to incorporate into their recess. Activities will also be shared on the Recess Rocks in RI Facebook Group. Schools that participate in the daily activities will be eligible to enter a raffle to win prizes. 

Recess Rocks in RI is a partnership among Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Playworks New England, and Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition. It is a free training program for school and recess staff, designed to ensure that recess ​is a safe, meaningful, and ​healthy experience ​for every child.   

“It’s crucial that students are able to access play and its benefits every day throughout the school year,” said Jessi Jasper, Playworks New England Regional Partnerships Manager. “We know that school staff have a lot on their plates, so Active Indoor Recess Week is a way for us to provide games and resources or active indoor play in an accessible way.” 

Carolyn Belisle, BCBSRI managing director of community relations, said, “Recess, whether indoor or outdoor, is a vital part of the day for schoolchildren. It positively impacts not only their physical health, but also their social relationships, emotional wellbeing and academic success. Active Indoor Recess Week is a great way to promote the importance of recess even whether the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor play, and it offers educators valuable guidance on how to develop effective and engaging indoor recess programs. At BCBSRI, we believe it’s essential to put children on a lifetime path of staying active and healthy.” 

Multiple staff members at the International Charter School in Pawtucket participated in Active Indoor Recess Week in 2022. Rosa DeVarona, the school’s assistant director, said, “Indoor Recess is part of our recess rotation. We notice that it is helping to develop communication skills and develop sportsmanship by playing other types of games and giving everyone the opportunity to join in.”

The first day of Active Indoor Recess Week features a virtual workshop for teachers from 4 to 5:30 p.m. In this session, educators will learn best practices to engage students in activities and create a school recess action plan. Regardless of whether a school is large or small, new or old, or urban or suburban, indoor activities can be offered that benefit all students equitably. 

Educators are encouraged to share their classroom or school's participation using a self-reporting form (and tag #ActiveIndoorRecessRI on social media). Schools [and/or] classrooms that share their participation will be entered into a raffle for prizes that continue to support safe and healthy play throughout the school year.  

Different types of games and activities will be shared on each day of Active Indoor Recess Week, along with resources for transitioning students from recess to learning. The following are the themes for each day’s activities: 

  • Monday Moves: Set up a dance station at indoor recess for students to move and groove 
  • Tuesday Choose-Day: Support student choice two with two or more activity options at recess 
  • Work-it-out-Wednesday: Play a game that incorporates Rock, Paper, Scissors, to develop conflict resolution skills 
  • Thoughtful Thursday: Play a game that promotes social and emotional learning (SEL) skills such as cooperation, teamwork and communication. 
  • Friday Cool Down: Cool down at the end of recess with a transition activity like a breathing exercise or stretch  

The Recess Rocks movement continues to grow across the Ocean State as educators increasingly prioritize the health and well-being of their students. During the pandemic, Recess Rocks has been actively encouraging and supporting efforts to incorporate – and pilot -- safe and healthy play into the school environment. Learn more about how you and your school community can join the movement here.