Research Shows Girls at Playworks Schools Get More Physical Activity

  1. Updates

If you ask a group of students what their favorite part of the school day was, many answers will include something that happened at recess. That’s because the playground is a place where engaging games are played, new friendships form, and most importantly fun can be had by all. 

But recess can also be an important way for students, especially girls, to not only develop stronger, healthier bodies, but also build the key confidence needed for continuous learning and growth.

girl playing on playgroundFindings from Mathematica Policy Research shed light on the transformative power of Playworks’ programming in shaping the physical activity habits of young girls.

The study revealed that girls attending Playworks partner schools spent significantly more time engaged in vigorous physical activity compared to their counterparts in non-Playworks schools. This increase in physical activity among girls was attributed to the inclusive and intentional play environment fostered by Playworks.

As part of the study, 29 schools were randomly assigned to either receive Playworks services for one full school year or act as a control group. Using a combination of accelerometers and recess observation, researchers gather data to create a comprehensive picture of the program’s effects on both boys and girls. 

girl playing basketballGirls in Playworks schools exhibited significantly higher accelerometer intensity counts, or the physical activity that produces health benefits, and spent more time engaged in vigorous physical activity compared to their counterparts in control schools.

A significant impact was also found on the types of activities in which girls engaged during recess; girls at schools with Playworks programming were less likely than those in the control group to be sedentary and more likely to engage in jumping, tag, and playground games.

Staff at Playworks schools also noticed a tangible difference after witnessing the program’s impact, with one educator noting,

“It’s been rewarding seeing diverse groups of students engaged in cooperative games. I’ve especially enjoyed seeing girls participate in games which they may have previously felt discomfort joining in.”

girls playing tagBy investing in programs like Playworks, your school can create inclusive playgrounds that serve as incubators for confidence, resilience, and lifelong health. Let’s continue to champion the power of play in shaping a brighter, more empowered future for all!


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