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


January 18, 2023

Building skills through play: adult engagement at recess ›

What does adult engagement look like at recess and why is it important? Adults actively engaging on the playground is important because it encourages healthy play at recess. Playworks’ programming recognizes this and highlights the need of providing a kind and consistent adult during the school day for students to connect and build trusting relationships that…

January 10, 2023

Understanding the Complex Simplicities of Play ›

Play is a behavior that is natural and has existed for thousands of years and across species. It combines a set of made-up rules or norms and a willingness to explore. Researchers, scientists, and doctors have studied the effects of play on kids–and adults–and understand that this natural behavior has tremendous benefits. As the American…

December 28, 2022

Looking forward to joy in 2023 ›

Over the last five weeks, we have been exploring the concept of joy. We’ve answered check-in questions on our Instagram based around joy, heard from five Coaches on Facebook about what brings them joy, and found out from students what about recess brings them so much joy. To close out the year, we have been…