Playworks Coach: Stephanie Murray

  1. Updates

As a Playworks coach, there are so many positive things that outweigh the long hours, lesson planning, and nasty weather.  Everyday I come to school and look forward to seeing disagreements resolved using ro-sham-bo and seeing friendships grow as students play together at recess.  I have also learned that a smile can say so much and is a part of a universal language, especially when there is a language barrier between young children.

Playworks strives to use play to bring out the best of every child. I have seen some great transformations and continuous growth in many of my students from working with them during Class Game Times (CGT) and giving them the responsibility to show their skills at recess.  During CGTs, students are introduced to a variety of games that they may not have otherwise taken the opportunity to try.  I have also created a safe environment where students feel safe to try new things and are encouraged to cheer each other on and give high fives.

An individual story comes to mind about a young 5th grade girl with a disability.  Most of the time, she likes to stand back and not be noticed; but I wanted her to have the same opportunity as every other student. With a little encouragement from me, her teacher and some of her classmates, she gathered the courage to participate. At that time we were playing a kickball game and she was up to kick. She not only kicked the ball, but kicked it very well and it was as much of a shock to her classmates as it was to her. The smile on her face said it all! It was something she may not have always felt comfortable doing, or may not have ever been given the opportunity, but she was successful and felt accomplished. For some students, it may be more difficult to get involved. I have found that getting them involved in different ways, such as just being your helper, or gathering the equipment will make their day and will help to boost their confidence.

As an AmeriCorps member and a member of my school community, I work hard to make the community a safer, stronger, and healthier place to be. I enjoy doing my part by teaching students respect, self confidence, and problem solving through games and play. It is important to me to not only have a relationship with my students, but also with teachers, school staff, and the families of the school community. Together we can all make the community a better place to be.

More Updates


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…

March 12, 2021

Playworks: One Year Later ›

One year ago… All of our partner schools closed their buildings and our work serving kids in schools risked coming to a halt. We knew our mission had to continue. We remained committed to providing opportunities for joy and connection through play for kids in a COVID safe way, regardless if their school was virtual,…