Playworks brings out the best in every kid, through play.

In partnership with teachers, principals, and parents, we build a culture of play that enables kids to feel a real sense of belonging and have the opportunity to contribute on the playground, in the classroom, and into their communities. A randomized control trial by Stanford University and Mathematica Policy Research found that compared to students at similar schools, Playworks students were more physically active and teachers reported that students had greater feelings of school safety and less bullying behavior.

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Get in touch to find support for your school, organization, or community.

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RAND Review: Playworks in Top ESSA Tier for Evidence of Impact

Playworks Coach is a Tier I social-emotional learning intervention for elementary schools, meeting rigorous evaluation requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Read the new report by RAND Corporation and The Wallace Foundation.



Reports & Research

November 8, 2022

Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) Retrospective Self-Change (RSC) survey ›

Between Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, Playworks collaborated with Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR) to collect data across 8 regions involving 710 4th and 5th graders in schools offering…

May 11, 2018

Evidence-based Strategies for Socially, Emotionally and Physically Beneficial School Recess ›

Based on the evidence obtained from the authors’ investigation with Playworks participants and coaches, five strategies were identified for health and physical education practitioners to consider in the implementation of…

March 22, 2018

Development of the great recess framework-observational tool to measure contextual and behavioral components of elementary school recess ›

This study established initial evidence for a valid and reliable assessment tool to observe school recess environments with a specific focus on safety, resources, student engagement, adult engagement, pro-social/anti-social behavior,…

boy and girl with hula hoops
boy and girl with hula hoops

July 27, 2021

Recess Quality and Social and Behavioral Health in Elementary School Students ›

High quality recess contributes to the executive function, emotional self-control, resilience, and positive classroom behavior in elementary school children.  Citation: Massey WV, Thalken J, Szarabajko A, Neilson L, Geldhof, J.…

girl throwing basketball
girl throwing basketball

April 20, 2021

Memories of school recess predict physical activity enjoyment and social-emotional well-being in adults ›

This study examined adults’ memories of their recess experience and how they are associated with various aspects of adulthood, such as social isolation, meaning, and purposes, physical activity enjoyment. Key…

January 1, 2017

Strategies for Recess in Schools ›

In Jan 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SHAPE America released new guidance documents for recess. Playworks contributed to the development of these guidance documents and…

We’ve gone from kind of dreading teaching the period right after recess to it being a very productive academic time.

Audra Philippon


Discover our Impact

child smiling
child smiling

November 6, 2018

Empowering Kids to be Courageous ›

Eric is a kindergarten student who rarely chose to play at recess. He was pleasant and talkative with teachers and recess staff, but was hesitant to interact with classmates. One…

boy on playground
boy on playground

November 7, 2018

Bringing Out the Kindness from Within ›

When I first arrived at my school as the new Playworks Coach, I found that many students came to school tired and cranky, and were quick to fight, swear, cheat,…

girl smiling on blacktop
girl smiling on blacktop

November 8, 2018

Helping Students Uncover their Leadership Potential ›

When I showed my principal the list of students accepted to our school’s Junior Coach program this year, she gasped. One fifth grade name in particular stood out to her.…

Annual Survey

Teachers, principals, and other school staff at Playworks schools complete an annual survey, which gives Playworks both quantitative and qualitative data about the changes in student behavior and school environment that have occurred as a result of Playworks programming. Playworks analyzes survey results at the school, regional and national levels. As a result of the feedback we receive, Playworks updates and improves our services to better fit the needs of every school.


of administrators, teachers and support staff agree that Playworks helps improve overall school climate

See Results

Bring Playworks to Your School

Find support for schools, districts, and youth organizations. Get in touch to learn more.

Get Playworks