North Windham Elementary Recess Program

North Windham Elementary Recess Program


For this program, college students will be working with elementary age students to engage them in structured cooperative play during their recess period.  The goal of this program is to inspire healthy cooperative play with the children emphasizing sportsmanship, integrity, and respect. The program dates and times are forthcoming.

Wednesday 11:15am-1:00pm and 1:00pm-2:00pm




By: Talene Balian

I have done some volunteering at one day events here and there as part of my desire to give back to the community. I am an intern at the Center for Community Engagement and heard about many of the opportunities and decided to volunteer at some of them. When choosing the volunteer program, I wanted to do one where I would be having a good time but also do something that I normally would not do.

Generally, I have not enjoyed being with little kids but missed recess, so why not give it a try? The North Windham Elementary School Recess Program is on Wednesdays and has two sessions; 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM and 12:30 PM to 2:20 PM. I did the 12:30 PM to 2:20 session.

The grades that I saw every week were 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade. Each grade has about a 15 to 20 minute recess. The first time I volunteered, I was nervous because I usually do not know how to interact or play with little kids the greatest and wondered what they thought of me.

After experiencing my first day volunteering at the North Windham Elementary School Recess Program, I realized that the children were really excited about having college students playing with them every week. the program’s student leader, Samone, every week would bring in a different activity to the school children and they would have a blast every time! Some of the activities that Samone brought in include relays, bubbles, chalk, and potato sack races.

The children enjoyed all the activities Samone provided and even if some of the children did not want to play the games, they enjoyed playing on the playground or the swings with some of the other volunteers. I usually participated in the activities Samone provided or was taking pictures of the children playing with the other volunteers.

I learned a lot about myself from the time I spent volunteering at the North Windham Elementary School Recess Program. The first thing I learned is patience. My patience for little kids definitely increased over the two months I volunteered. The second thing I learned about myself is that I got more mature. By being around the kids, I started to understand what it is like taking care of other people’s kids. The program helped me overcome my anxiety of interacting small kids.

I would definitely recommend students join this program! The program is only once a week for two hours and you get to feel like a kid again playing at recess! You can also get more experience in the real world by volunteering!! Come sign up at the Center for Community Engagement.


By: Christopher Mathis, May 5th, 2016

For this program, my team and I worked with elementary-aged students to engage them in structured cooperative play during their recess period. The goal of this program was to inspire healthy play with the children emphasizing sportsmanship, integrity, and respect. The program took place on Wednesdays from 11:15 AM to 2:20 PM at North Windham Elementary School.

As a volunteer for this program, it was my job to interact with the children during recess. My team and I thought of games and activities for all the kids who wanted to play. We didn’t want to disturb their natural order of recess, so we adapted to fit right in with what the students were already playing. Each shift was about 20 minutes and contained the different grade levels.

During recess I noticed the many habits and actions the children did. The children split into their own groups for recess, but it was never cliquey or divided. Students of different races, genders, and even spoken languages often played together. I also observed that there was a strong sense of community at recess. When a student was hurt playing or by another student, the children would rush to their aid, either helping them to the nurse or confronting the student directly. It was great to see kids helping each other in such a way, in a world where everyone seems to be against each other.

When I wasn’t playing with the children, I often engaged them in conversation. The students in kindergarten would talk about their friends, hobbies, and what they did in class. The older students talked about their home lives; some had parents that were divorced, were being raised by a single mother, and/or lived in troubled neighborhoods. I appreciated the students’ willingness to share sensitive information with someone they had just began to know.

I believe we had a positive impact on the students. I think they got a better understanding of cooperation, safety, and inclusion. The children definitely learned better by seeing the benefits of healthy play first-hand, rather than experiencing the consequences of unhealthy play at the hands of a teacher or administrator. I hope the students can translate these lessons to situations later on in life.

I learned that recess is an essential program for children to have. It is an important time for them to socialize with classmates, make new friends, and most importantly, release stress and built-up energy. Recess period has been cut to shorter times and even removed completely across the country. This is definitely a mistake because recess isn’t simply a time for children to ‘run around’, but a time to interact with peers. For some children, that period could be the only physical activity they perform, and we shouldn’t take that away. I loved my experience doing this program and I hope I can do it again.

To look at photos at this program, check out our Flickr account! North Windham Elementary School Recess Program


North Windham Elementary School Recess Program
Reflection from Francesca Russo, April 18, 2016

A student in Nicolas Simon’s “Race and Ethnic Relations” course:

I volunteered through the CCE in the North Windham Elementary School Recess Program. Not only was this program noticeably rewarding for the children, but for myself as well. The volunteers were given the opportunity to engage elementary age students during their recess and help them learn positive and constructive ways to play and interact with one another. It was beneficial for me to see children so young learning how to treat each other with respect and kindness and it made me feel great to know that I was able to participate in such a great cause. My hope is that we made a long lasting impact on these children and that they take the skills we taught them to use in their future experiences.

To look at photos of this program, check out our Flickr account! North Windham Elementary School Recess Program