Play is a Priority for New Bedford School District

  1. Updates

Playworks New England is thrilled to continue creating opportunities for safe and healthy play for elementary students across New Bedford. 

Playworks launched programs in four New Bedford schools in 2016. This year, Playworks has expanded to serve 12 New Bedford elementary schools through a combination of services, which means over 4,000 students are experiencing safe and healthy play, every day.

We are leveraging play in collaboration with the New Bedford Public Schools Safe and Supportive Schools Initiative in order to improve school climate and strengthen students’ social-emotional learning. Playworks creates opportunities for play by rethinking recess systems, expectations, and creating safe choices. 

Fourth and fifth grade Junior Coaches at Rodman School

You may wonder what safe and healthy play means. A “Playworks recess” refers to the techniques, practices, and strategies employed by recess staff to create a playground culture where all kids are included and have the opportunity to play. A safe and healthy recess means recess is inclusive, students have choices, they learn conflict resolution tools, and—most importantly—have fun! 

Another major component of Playworks is our Junior Coach Leadership Program in which students are trained to be the next generation of student leaders and citizens in New Bedford. Through this unique leadership program, 4th and 5th graders serve as role models to their younger peers at recess and within the school community. The opportunities for peer to peer learning is immensely powerful and helps transform the recess experience for all students.

Playworks TeamUp Schools: Ashley, Brooks, Carney, Pacheco, Swift, Taylor, Winslow

Playworks Pro Schools: Congdon, DeValles, Hathaway, Jacobs, Parker

See what New Bedford teachers have to say about Playworks: 

“Since Playworks started in September, we find that everyone is engaged at recess. Students who previously didn’t have someone to play with now have something to do and others to play with. We’ve also noticed a reduction in accidents and conflicts now that students know how to tag safely, be inclusive, and solve conflicts on their own.” 

                 – Susan Santos, 1st Grade Teacher at Pacheco School 

“Recess at Rodman has come full circle. Students are now playing organized games without disagreements or feeling left out. They are resolving their own conflicts and supporting each other. But most of all, they are having fun — those smiles say it all! I’m having fun, too! 

                 – Erin Allen, 4th Grade Teacher at Rodman School 

“With Playworks we have so many fewer trips to the nurse. Before, there wasn’t a recess where kids didn’t get hurt. Our students are now learning how to socialize, play, be respectful to each other, and be nice. They even help each other more in class now. Everyone is just thrilled. It is so helpful!” 

                  – 1st Grade Teacher at Rodman School 

More Updates


September 15, 2021

Creating an Inclusive Playground ›

When children feel included on the playground, it gives them the space to learn and grow in an environment that they know will celebrate their wins and encourage them to learn from their mistakes. As recently highlighted on NBC, health experts are stressing inclusion for school children, which is why we’re focusing on it as…

NE Team
NE Team

September 8, 2021

Playworks Goes Back to School! ›

We know how important addressing children’s emotional needs is to recover from the learning loss and trauma felt throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s where Playworks steps in. Over the past few months, we have been preparing for modified in-person programming with the intention of bringing an impactful, safe, and fun recess to every child in…

September 1, 2021

2020-21 Year End Report ›

Schools were closed. Sports were cancelled. Recess was still on schedule. Throughout the pandemic, Playworks has been a ready and willing partner to schools across our network, helping to redefine the role of play in the lives of students dealing with increased stress, trauma, and anxiety. The support of dedicated partners helped Playworks continue to provide…