Playworks North Carolina Impacts Charlotte-Mecklenburg Elementary Schools

  1. Updates

Playworks North Carolina is excited to have expanded to Charlotte through ‘Playworks Training.’ Playworks will provide expert professional development to adult educators at 26 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Elementary Schools to create a more active, inclusive, and positive school environment for more than 18,600 children.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg received a PEP Grant for Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) to facilitate an active and safe recess. Jill Johnson, the PEP Grant Manager for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and Jeanne Bryne, the Physical Education and Health Resource Teacher for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, reached out to Playworks to ask if we would train their PALs on the Playworks’ recess model.

The training was everything we expected and more.  A tremendous amount of expertise was delivered in a seamless manner.  They truly changed the mindset and perception of play for nearly 100 professionals in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. I have never, in 26 years of teaching, had staff development participants give so much, be so engaged, and leave training feeling so empowered. As the manager of a PEP grant, I know that the decision to include Playworks in the transformation of our elementary schools was nothing short of genius.”- Jill Johnson

Playworks North Carolina’s own Program Managers, Janelle Averill and Ben Neveras, who are certified Playworks trainers, conducted and led a week of Playworks’ training to more than 120 administrators, teachers and staff who will implement the Playworks program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. CMS participants were trained on recess design, group management, games facilitation and conflict resolution techniques. They will also participate in continued trainings through the course of the next two years.

The principals and teachers learned about the power of play, group management best practices, and how to design and implement a Playworks recess. Participants left with a new perspective on the importance of play and many commented that it was the best professional development series they’d ever experienced!” -Ben Neveras, Program Manager, Playworks North Carolina

As the trainings continued, and the new school year quickly approached, Jill Johnson gave her report on the Playworks trainings:

Playworks created a safe and secure environment that always left room for redemption and a strong sense of acceptance for where we were in our individual journeys. The first day of school, is Monday, August 25th. I cannot thank Playworks enough for the time, effort, and expertise.  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is blessed to have Playworks working with us to change the lives of our students.”

Playworks NC is honored to be on this journey with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Elementary Schools and we are excited for the opportunity to impact even more children in North Carolina!

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…

August 24, 2021

Playworks Founder Jill Vialet Publishes ‘Why Play Works’ ›

Play brings out the best in every kid. Over the course of 25 years since Jill Vialet founded Playworks, she and her colleagues, as well as researchers and play experts, have demonstrated precisely how and why play works to help kids learn and grow in the most positive and healthy ways. Jill gathered stories from people…

March 25, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Physically Distant with No Equipment ›

As more and more schools transition back to in-person learning, we know educators are looking for games that are physically-distant and don’t require equipment. The need for play is more important than ever due to the isolation that our kids have endured during COVID-19. Play encourages creativity, flexibility, teamwork, and other critical social skills. We’ve…