When students do not have reliable health care, transportation, or even housing, they are more likely to miss school. A National Center for Children in Poverty report found students in low-income communities are four times more likely to be chronically absent (miss 10% of the school year) than other students.
Attendance matters for student achievement. By third grade, chronically absent students are less likely to read on grade level in third grade, according to Attendance Works.
With the support of Playworks, Loma Linda Elementary School in Arizona decreased chronic absence rates from 12% to 4%.
Loma Linda knew they could make an impact by improving the recess environment. Studies on Playworks show that a better recess environment helps students:
- experience less bullying (Mathematica, 2014)
- feel safer at school (Mathematica, 2014)
- and deepen relationships with caring adults (Health Education Journal, 2017).
There are many strategies and resources to improve student attendance. For one, we can foster trusting relationships between students and the adults at school. In most cases, children who enjoy school are motivated to attend. Families who build relationships with adults at school are more willing to get help to getting kids to school.
Playworks makes school fun by introducing exciting games at recess. Our coaches also build community on and off the playground. Our AmeriCorps coaches build relationships with students and adults every day at school and help school administrators to build relationships with students outside of the classroom. They also plan and run a project to tackle a community need along with the school families and staff.
By rethinking recess and partnering with Playworks, schools like Loma Linda impact the entire school community.