A loud buzzer announces recess at Santa Ana’s James A. Garfield Elementary.
Youngsters stream out of their classrooms and pause briefly in neat lines before scattering across the blacktop to bounce balls, skip rope and play tag.
It’s a typical schoolyard scene, unfolding against a soundtrack of shrieks and shouts. But considerably more is at work here than 20 minutes of fun and games.
This school year, recess at Garfield is an evolving lesson in behavior modification. Through an award-winning program called Playworks, children are treating one another with more respect and, administratorsand students say, feeling better about themselves and school.