Foust Elementary is initiating a structured recess program that offers children more play choices and encourages students to work together.
Organized play is a concept that benefits all students since play is a central part of students’ school experience. Children learn skills for cooperation and self-control during play with peers. Research shows that increasing the quality of play for young children results in long-lasting and favorable academic and social outcomes.
Benefits of the “organized recess” concept include more active play for students, increased opportunities for teamwork, fewer accidental injuries and fewer discipline issues. Foust staff members hope to increase students’ exposure to activities that promote inclusion and collaboration. Organized play is structured so that students are able to make decisions, work together for common goals and resolve conflicts in a healthy and safe environment. These opportunities are important in building resilient children.
Foust has partnered with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Ohio Valley to obtain additional play equipment and maximize benefits of organized play for students struggling with adverse life experiences outside of school. CASA’s grant request to the Owensboro Health Community Health Investment grant program is focused on securing funding to provide equipment and promote mindful play. Mindfulness mitigates the effects of restlessness, lack of focus and bullying. By attending to their play rather than being distracted by outside worries, students can focus on being kids and having fun.
With funding from the Owensboro Health Community Health Investment grant program and help from CASA of the Ohio Valley, Foust was able to purchase a play cart to be wheeled to the playground area daily. The equipment chosen for the cart can be used for multiple types of games where students can play and develop these valuable skills to be successful.
“This is an exciting next step in our continuing efforts to provide students with opportunities to build social and emotional skills in a safe play environment,” said Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Nick Brake, EdD.
Foust Elementary Principal Janie Moseley said Foust is committed to helping students experience the many social, emotional, cognitive, and physical benefits of healthy play.
“We are grateful for our relationship with CASA and Owensboro Health for helping make our Mindful Day of Play possible. By giving students access to a safe and inclusive play environment, teaching acceptance and cooperation, and helping students experience the joy of physical activity will equip children with great tools for developing healthy lifelong patterns.”
Owensboro Health’s participation in this is in keeping with the health system’s mission, said Greg Strahan, president and CEO of Owensboro Health.
“Owensboro Health exists to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities we serve, and this grant funding focuses on the health and well-being of some of the most treasured community members, our children,” Strahan said. “By partnering with CASA and Owensboro Public Schools, we hope to impact these students in ways that will have lifelong benefits.”
Owensboro Health Director of Community Engagement Debbie Zuerner Johnson said that this project is an outstanding example of the impact and importance of our investments in community health and arts programs.
“The Community Health Investment grants exist because Owensboro Health recognizes the tremendous impact that can occur by partnering with outstanding agencies and entities throughout the region,” Zuerner Johnson said. “The grants are targeted toward certain priority health areas. We see that this initiative has the potential to make a difference, and we want to help CASA and Owensboro Public Schools’ effort to succeed.”