NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some New York City schools have hired “recess coaches” to teach kids how to play.

But parents have mixed feelings about the idea, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.

So far, $425,000 in taxpayer money has been paid to Playworks, a non-profit organization now working with P.S. 2 in Chinatown, P.S. 198 on the Upper East Side and in Brooklyn at P.S. 9 in Prospect Heights, P.S. 11 in Clinton Hill and P.S. 133 in Park Slope, among 28 schools.

The nonprofit says, “A Playworks recess addresses a variety of situations — bullying, exclusion, chaos — with solutions that carry over to the rest of the school day.”

But Gabriel, a dad from Park Slope said, “You don’t want to not have kids be creative.”

“I think kids definitely need to play,” added Chelsea Melvin, a mother. “I don’t know that they need to be taught to play. I feel like they might know how to do that intrinsically.”

“I’m stunned that the city has the money to spend on these coaches,” said Lauren Garbel.

Parenting coach Tammy Gold, however, said she thinks the coaches are a great idea.

“Just as much as we have physical education, we need to have emotional education,” she said. “Children need to know communication skills. They need to know conflict skills.”

And some parents agree.

“Why not have extra help? I don’t see how why it would hurt anything or hurt anyone,” said Ashley Hart.

Most parents Baker spoke to agreed that whether there is a recess coach or not, the playground is meant to be a place for creativity and fun.

The Department of Education said each school can use funds however it wants, including for the recess coach program.

Playworks is currently in 900 schools in 23 U.S. cities.


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