Jill Vialet

True or False: Your child’s school is only as safe as the surrounding neighborhood. The answer? False, according to a report released by the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. Researchers there found that academic performance plays a bigger role in health and safety on school campuses than surrounding poverty and crime.

While neither Playworks (nor the researchers) want to deny the obvious safety implications of a school’s zip code, we’re especially interested in this research because it helps validate and highlight the growing importance of the work our trained staff do every single school day in 15 cities (and growing!) across the United States. Give kids a great recess and send them back into the classroom ready to learn with more focus and mental vigor than they would have had without it.

By creating safe, inclusive environments on the playground, Playworks teaches and instills important life and social skills that are reflected in the classroom; how to resolve conflicts peacefully, good sporting behavior, positive engagement with peers (I could go on and on). And while I can only dream about a day when threats to the safety of American students are completely eliminated, it truly warms my heart to know that our mission of making school recess count is more than just improving child’s play; it’s an essential part of making our kids safer. Even if we lose, we feel like every game of foursquare is a win for us and a win for America’s kids.


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