Testimonial: Assistant Principal Supporting Playworks

  1. Updates

“Caring coaches and a thoughtful structure that prioritizes play time.”

Here at Playworks we believe strong school partnerships are key to bringing the power of play to students. That’s why we were honored to be spoken so highly of by one of our Assistant Principals, Julio C. Nuñez, at the School District of Philadelphia’s Board of Education meeting. Mr. Nuñez has been a phenomenal advocate for play, and has even worked with us at two different schools; Independence Charter School West, and now Philip H. Sheridan School. Our impact would not be possible without all of our dedicated partners, so thank you Mr. Nuñez for your powerful words!

Watch the clip below to hear Mr. Nuñez’s experience with Playworks in his school communities.


Buenas tardes, Board members, Dr. Hite. My name is Julio Nunez and I am here on behalf of Philip Sheridan Elementary in North Philadelphia where I serve as Assistant Principal. I am here to speak in favor of motion 21, contract with Playworks. 

Over the past 4 years, I have had the pleasure of seeing the impact that Playworks can have on a school community. It has been nothing short of game changing. In my previous school experience, I saw children who normally would not have been recognized, thrive and become positive leaders for their peers. I saw the narrow focus that schools typically have widen to include play and exercise and the importance of soft skills in developing these young minds. With the help of caring coaches and a thoughtful structure that prioritizes play time, Playworks helps to create a culture that to this day adds to the experience of each child and continues to promote leadership opportunities for children who need it the most. 

My experience at Sheridan has not been much different. We also see play as instructional time, essential to child development. Last year, during its first year at Sheridan, the Playworks program changed attitudes– from the children, to the families, to the teachers, all the way to the leadership team. For many of our students, recess, Class Game Time, basketball games, junior coaching are the only time, I say the only time, where they can be kids. Where they don’t have to contend with the trauma some carry or the challenging situations they live daily. Prolonged screen time has become a serious concern. It has pushed my Principal and I to figure out how to ensure students have opportunities to develop healthy habits at home and a safe space and air quality at school, upon their return. Having Playworks becomes a necessity to counter the long-term impact of this pandemic. 

A recent CDC report released just last last month concluded that “almost all of the US kids and teens who have died from Covid 19 were Hispanic or Black.” The report was echoed by Dr. Uche Blackstock in an article where he states: “The deaths have nothing to do with the color of a child’s skin. They are tied to systemic racism that puts their health at risk by subjecting them to different living conditions than their white peers.” 

Having Playworks again this year would allow our school to continue with its sharp focus on children’s physical activity and healthy habits and in countering systemic disparities. I urge you to vote in favor of partnering with Playworks once more and to continue supporting initiatives to dismantle structures and mindsets that keep students from opportunities to develop healthy habits and of realizing their full potential. Gracias and buenas noches.

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three people with Playworks shirts
three people with Playworks shirts

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“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…

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