2021-22 Year End Report

  1. Updates

After two years of isolation and adapted schooling, our students and staff spent a full year together in school buildings. We continued innovating to meet the needs of students, schools, and partners. Our return to in-person events was filled with joy, and throughout it all, bringing the healing power of play to students across New England was front and center. Download our full 2021-22 Year End Report and read more about our year here.

Impact Snapshot:
  • 73,900 kids experiencing safe & healthy play in school.
  • 202 partner schools across New England.
  • 357 youth leaders in our Junior Coach program.
  • 1,170 school staff members trained by Playworks professionals.
Highlights from 2021-22:
  • Innovation through district-wide partnerships: From partnering with the Salem Public School District to remixing recess for 4-8th graders alongside the Boston Public Schools Health & Wellness department, our district partnership approach is allowing us to bring play to more students
  • Junior Coach Graduation Ceremony: Junior Coach Graduation featured games led by Playworks Coaches that are staples at any recess: you could play independently at a jump rope station, get competitive on the four square court, work as a team with new friends playing dodgeball, or stop by the photobooth to commemorate the day with family members. 
  • Recess Champions in Rhode Island: Recess Rocks in Rhode Island honored 4 Recess Champions across the state this year: 2 Providence PE Teachers, a Richmond TA, and a North Smithfield School Counselor. Recess Champions are school staff members who go above and beyond in implementing Playworks practices to create safe, engaging, and empowering play environments.
  • Girls Basketball Extravaganza: On a Saturday morning in May, we hosted our first ever Girls Basketball Extravaganza, complete with opening ceremonies, skill stations, and basketball-adapted Playworks games such as Steal the Bacon and Foxes and Bunnies.
Results from our 2021-22 Annual Survey that demonstrates Playworks’ impact.

In 2021-22, our top priorities focused on restoring access to safe, healthy play for vulnerable students disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, focusing on four key objectives:

  • Continue to deliver high-quality programs
  • Innovate our partnerships to best meet student needs in the changing environment
  • Be a thought partner with schools and districts as we customize our programs based on expressed needs
  • Explore new policy strategies to advocate for state-wide changes that increase equitable access to play

We were able to work towards these goals thanks to our incredible community and corporate partners. We are excited to continue working hand in hand with partners, schools, and districts 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.

Our full Impact Report is available for download here. To learn more or find a time to see Playworks programming in action, please contact Leah Kelly at leah.kelly@playworks.org.

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…

parent playing with kids outside
parent playing with kids outside

July 21, 2022

Games to play at home this summer ›

Are you looking for games to play at home using only things found around your house? Look no further! In case you haven’t heard – school’s out for summer! With long stretches of hot days still to come, you might be looking forward to playing some new games with your family or people in your…

coach writing letter
coach writing letter

June 22, 2022

Playworks AmeriCorps Coaches’ end of year reflections ›

Being an AmeriCorps Coach at Playworks is no small feat. Throughout the year, you are asked to complete 1,700 hours of service. Weekend service projects are common, you recruit and coach students for a basketball extravaganza, and you’re encouraged to spend a lot of time reflecting on why you chose to do a year of…