The Power of Playworks

  1. Updates

When the returning AmeriCorps members told how much growth we would see in the kids that we will be working with this year, I believed them. I could see the pride and joy these coaches had as they shared stories of complete transformations from out-of-control children to valuable members of their playground community. What I had mistakenly believed was the time frame in which these changes would occur. I figured it would take months for me to truly see the good that I was doing in this community. I just knew it would take even longer for the teachers to attribute these positive results to the Playworks program.

I was pleasantly proven wrong in my first week at school. A new teacher by the name of Ms. Barron came up to thank me. She pointed out one of her fifth graders on the four-square court and said that Josè had not been participating in class for the first few days. He sat alone at lunch. He was new at the school and did not immediately click with the other students. She thanked me for setting up an environment that was inclusive and inviting students like Josè to play. She said that the very day that he started playing four-square his whole demeanor changed. He was chatting with other students at lunch and paying more attention in class. It had only been about a week working with the students.

This kind of feedback so early in the school year gets me excited for next year. If others and I can witness this change in a week, I can only imagine what we will look like after ten months of service to the community.

More Updates

March 24, 2023

Empowered youth to community leaders ›

The importance of youth leadership programming in elementary schools Childhood is spent brimming with fascinations of the future – ideas of what infinite potential can amount to, ambitions of fulfilling some innate passion, and the mystery of what the years ahead hold. Some will take on leadership roles, becoming agents in their community. How can…

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…

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…