2021-22 Mid-Year Report: Adjusting and Adapting

  1. Updates

As we continue to navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19, Playworks has leaned into the healing power of play to strengthen and support our communities. 

Our partners have allowed us to ensure that kids across New England feel safe within their school, are supported by adult role models, and have access to positive outlets for physical activity and social-emotional development.

Through two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned three pivotal things:

  1.  School is more than just academics, and addressing learning loss requires us to first focus on social-emotional learning as kids heal from traumas caused by the pandemic. 
  2. We know that mental and physical health are critically connected. With a strong emphasis on physical activity and inclusion, our Coaches and Site Coordinators create safe and active school communities for kids to learn, grow, and play.
  3. Strong relationships matter. Our staff shows up daily as caring, consistent adults ready to navigate challenges and celebrate wins alongside their students and community.

Using those three anchor points, our team has been working diligently to bring safe and healthy play to students across New England, and we are delighted to share our 2021-22 Mid-Year Report with you.

Impact Snapshot:

  • 32 schools impacted by our TeamUp and Coach model
  • 1,003 teachers, administrators, and school staff trained through our Pro model
  • 45,520 students across New England experiencing the power of play through Playworks

Mid-Year Highlights

  • Stepping into the shoes of a Coach. You got to see what a typical day for Coach A looks like at the Rafael Hernandez School. From her favorite thing to eat for breakfast to the games she focused on in the first month of school, you caught a glimpse of what coaching looks like this school year.
  • Nationwide recognition. In the fall, the Today Show highlighted why quality play matters to kids right now and featured a Playworks partner school. In October, Playworks founder and social entrepreneur Jill Vialet sat down with Forbes to talk about her new book, “Why Play Works”, and how we can leverage the power of play to build a more equitable and joyful future.
  • Celebrating partners. We hosted Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island associates on their 10th annual service day to paint murals for the Raices Dual Language Academy in Central Falls, Rhode Island. We also celebrated a Recess Rockstar, Mr. L., and his commitment to bring safe and healthy play to Nettle Middle School.
  • SEL resource sharing. As the school year began, we focused on creating inclusive playgrounds, teaching positive language, and encouraging gratitude through games and other activities, with the goal of creating easy to use resources for educators around social-emotional learning.
  • Focusing on joy. In December, we launched the five-week Joy Series. We learned how to incorporate joy into everyday life, recapped 10 joyful moments of 2021, and heard from Coaches on our Instagram about what brings them joy at school.

Much of our mid-year success is thanks to our dedicated partners, generous donors, and students who are eager to play. We look forward to another spring with the Playworks community, full of Hula Hoop Tag, Bridgeball, and Crazy Kickball.

Our full Mid Year Report is available for download here. To learn more or find a time to see Playworks programming in action, please contact Jessie Igoe at jessica.igoe@playworks.org.

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