It might not look like a different kind of recess, but there is a plan and a method behind the fun thanks to Somers SEPTA (Special Education Parent Teacher Association). SEPTA has brought a fresh new take on recess with Recess Refresh at Primrose Elementary and Somers Intermediate School.
“We get to pick what activities we do,” said first-grader Alex Rahe. “I picked the parachute.”
Last year, SEPTA saw an opportunity for inclusivity and exploration for all students during unstructured playtime at recess. With that idea in mind, they created Recess Refresh, a time when school community volunteers provide extra hands-on activities and support during recess a few times a month, for as long as weather permits. Activities include chalk art, hula hoops, potato sack races, parachute play, a friendship scavenger hunt, and ring toss, among many others.
“Someone would make a design and then they would color inside of it with chalk,” said Alex.
Activities change each time, except for a few fan favorites like chalk art, which is included during every Recess Refresh. The committee is always looking for new games and activities to try.
Kenny Grisanti, a kindergarten student, said, “I would want the ring toss again,” when asked what he’d like to see the next time Recess Refresh comes back to the school.
Recess Refresh is an opportunity for volunteers to look for those children who may need a little extra help playing with new friends. That can mean noticing a child walking by themselves and inviting them to play a new game or getting a group of students involved with an activity like the parachute.
The program was piloted last year with first- and second-grade students. This year, the program expanded to include the kindergarten playground and has also been adopted by Somers Intermediate School. SEPTA continues to grow and broaden the program, with hopes of finding ways to expand into all schools and grades over time.