Expanding the Power of Play Across the State

  1. Updates

We have a visionof safe, healthy play occurring throughout the state. It is a vision that, with each passing day, is becoming a reality. In fact, for the recently inaugurated 2019-2020 school year, Playworks Michigan is partnering with 17 new schools in three new cities in mid and western Michigan. Let the games begin.

In Kalamazoo, seven schools will be debuting the Playworks TeamUp program where Playworks site coordinators will spend one week a month at each school. Grand Rapids (four schools) and Lansing (six schools) will implement Playworks Pro, where teachers, administrators, lunch and recess staff and other faculty are trained to implement and sustain meaningful student play on their own every day.

The statewide expansion is in lockstep with Playworks Michigan’s ongoing growth strategy and is being partially funded by a generous 2-year, $500,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. We are proud of our work in collaboration with our dedicated and forward-thinking school principals, administrators, teachers and partners but there is more to be done and more children to positively impact.

We’re getting there. In the 2018-19 school year, Playworks Michigan programs reached more than 27,000 students in 72 schools across Michigan, serving more than 4,000 students daily. By 2020, Playworks aims to bring the power of play to more than 120 schools statewide, providing our elementary school children with the opportunity to play games that also teach them a greater sense of self and respect for others. These skills are for the playground, the classroom and for lifefrom the tip of the thumb to the west side of the state and everywhere in between.

More Updates


three people with Playworks shirts
three people with Playworks shirts

July 28, 2022

A year of social and emotional learning ›

“You can’t do SEL, trauma, or equity work without each other,” Jennette Claassen, Head of Evaluation, Playworks. As Playworks continued to progress on our equity journey, we explored a critical question: what are the intersections between play, social and emotional learning, physical activity, and trauma? A working group focused on this question decided, among other…

August 24, 2021

Playworks Founder Jill Vialet Publishes ‘Why Play Works’ ›

Play brings out the best in every kid. Over the course of 25 years since Jill Vialet founded Playworks, she and her colleagues, as well as researchers and play experts, have demonstrated precisely how and why play works to help kids learn and grow in the most positive and healthy ways. Jill gathered stories from people…

April 8, 2021

How to fund Playworks programming at your school ›

Did you know Playworks programming can be funded by a variety of federal, state, and private streams? Here is a list to provide guidance and resources to help administrators in Michigan determine the best funding source to support bringing Playworks to your school. Government Grants For Schools Playworks has been found to be evidence-based under…