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.
Bring Playworks to Your School
Get in touch to find support for your school, organization, or community.
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 both Playworks’ Coach program and Playworks’ TeamUp program. Junior Coaches completed the Holistic Student Assessment (HSAR) Retrospective Self-Change (RSC) survey which measures 14 social and…
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 school programs focused on increased PA, play, and social-emotional development. An emphasis on two critical factors for successful intervention — the need for holistic programming…
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, and student empowerment. Use of the Great Recess Framework-Observational Tool can inspire evaluation, and subsequent intervention, to strategically create consistent, appropriate, and engaging school recess…
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. Recess quality and social and behavioral health in elemetnary school studtns. J Sch Health. 2021; DOI: 10.1111/josh.13065 Background Over the past decade much attention has…
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 findings included: Memories of recess exclusion were associated with social isolation in adulthood. Memories of recess enjoyment were associated with meaning and purpose in adulthood.…
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’re excited that the CDC and SHAPE America have taken the step to publicly recognize the importance of recess in the development of our kids.
We’ve gone from kind of dreading teaching the period right after recess to it being a very productive academic time.
Discover our Impact
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 day, Eric came to recess carrying a napkin, on which he had written, “I want to play Paper Clip Football.” Paper Clip Football is a…
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, and lie during recess games. However, there were some students who wanted to cooperate and participate, demonstrating respect, responsibility, inclusivity and healthy play. I needed…
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. I didn’t know Lailaney’s story, but it turned out she was the school’s inspiration to partner with Playworks. During her third grade year, the playground…
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
Bring Playworks to Your School
Find support for schools, districts, and youth organizations. Get in touch to learn more.