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Learning to play, an important lesson for schools

    What is the most basic thing that kids should learn in school? How to read? How to do math? What about — how to play?
    In a time of extremely tight budgets, the Oregon school district with one of the  tightest budgets of all, may shell out for a program at the playground.

    Rob Manning saw that program in action in the Reynolds school district in east Multnomah County.

    You know it’s gotten bad for recess when teachers have to ban the most common game around. That was the situation for kids at Hartley Elementary, like 3rd grader, Audrey.

    Audrey: “Well, we didn’t get to play ‘Tag’ at all.”

    Audrey’s principal and the enforcer of the “no-Tag” rule is Terri King.

    Terri King: “Tag, there’s always a fine line, where kids come across and someone gets pushed too hard, and someone thinks it was on purpose, and then you have a fight. So, we just kind of banned tag.”

    King credits a program called “Sports for Kids” for helping bring “Tag” back to Hartley. Coaches with the program taught kids how to use a very light “butterfly touch” to avoid knocking each other over.

    Elliot Langford: “Recess is like the final frontier of school. They kind of can do whatever they want, in a way – and that’s not always a good thing.”

    That’s Sports for Kids coach, Elliot Langford. He’s quick with a high-five and insists he plays with the kids, and doesn’t supervise them. But he’s responsible for bringing some order to recess at Hartley.

    — Excerpt from OPB News, April 7, 2009


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