There’s a response to the playground consultant story on the editorial page today. It’s from the director of the organization that does the consulting, and as you might expect it defends the idea. Here’s the line that stuck out:
Playworks is the leading nonprofit in our community leveraging the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health.
Leveraging the power of play. Do you know what that means? I don’t. It’s the sort of jargon you get when you’re trying to impress people with Important Concepts that are so self-evidently great you don’t need specifics. Next paragraph, same thing:
We are supporting social-emotional learning by leveraging the power of safe, fun and healthy play at school every day.
Thre’s a lot of power-leveraging going on, in other words. Let’s look up "leveraging."
1. The exertion of force by means of a lever or an object used in the manner of a lever: my spade hit something solid that wouldn't respond to leverage.
Since kids aren’t digging up large buried objects during recess, it can’t be that.
2. The ratio of a company's loan capital (debt) to the value of its common stock (equity).
Unlikely, unless kids are making deals behind the slide.
3. The power to influence a person or situation to achieve a particular outcome.
That’s the one. Good news, kids! Leverage time! Yaay! More:
A Playworks recess isn’t a certain set of games in a certain area, but a methodology utilizing refined techniques and tools to bring out the best in every kid.
So refined techniques are utilized in a methodology that does the leveraging. More:
It’s about helping schools create an environment where every child has a supported choice and is empowered to be a contributing member of their community.
To clarify, then: refined techniques are utilized in a methodology that does the leveraging for environment-creation that empowers community-contribution.
We’re talking about recess.