PAX Good Behavior Game in Yamhill County

McMinnville, Ore. — There is something new under the sun in Yamhill County: filled with spleems, kernels, tootles, and even prizes from wacky old granny. One must ask, what are spleems, kernels and tootles, who is the granny and why is she so wacky? The answer to these puzzling questions: the PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG), an evidence-based intervention used in the classroom to create an environment that is conducive to learning. For the past year, Yamhill Community Care Organization has partnered with Oregon Research Institute and three Yamhill County Elementary Schools; Faulconer-Chapman, Willamina and Yamhill-Carlton. This intervention reduces the level of virtually every psychological, behavioral and health problem that plagues our communities. Over the past 20 years, research has shown that problems as seemingly diverse as obesity, academic failure, depression and delinquency can be prevented. No longer do we need to wait until tragic things happen. We can prevent them.

We cannot prevent these problems solely by trying to get individuals to change their behavior. That is why the Good Behavior Game (GBG) movement, which is increasingly used in schools throughout North America and the world, has landed in Yamhill County. The GBG helps children learn to cooperate and concentrate and gives them a role in governing themselves. Small teams of students earn simple rewards (Granny’s Wacky Prizes), such as a chance to dance or make funny noises after they have worked together successfully for short periods. A study of the GBG done at John Hopkins University showed that young people who played the Game in just first or second grade were less likely to be arrested or to smoke by middle school. By the time they were entering adulthood, those who participated in the Good Behavior Game had less suicidal behavior and drug abuse and were more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. The game changes lives.

So how can you get involved? Support the initiative, encourage other schools to be a part of the movement and most of all, invest in our next generation. Who knows, you may get a prize from wacky granny too.

For information about this story, contact Samantha Kinney, Community Health and Wellness Coordinator, at 503-474-6309 or kinneys@co.yamhill.or.us