One of the most overlooked tools in education is the power of play. Recess and extended playtime provide kids with the opportunity to solve problems, make decisions, take turns, express their ideas, and listen to others.

Here at Playworks, we leverage the power of play to bring out the best in every kid. Playworks Pro provides professional training and ongoing development to school staff, paraprofessionals, and after-school care providers to create and maintain a great recess throughout the school year.

  • Tailored to your community
    Designed for playground supervisors, educators, and youth workers who support playground activities, Playworks Pro leverages the power of play to accelerate kids’ learning and wellness. We offer a range of services delivered by professional trainers intended for groups of ten or more participants, from half-day workshops to full-year immersions. Depending on your staff capacity and goals, we can help you select the option that’s best for your school, district, or youth organization.
  • Anywhere in the U.S.
    It doesn’t matter where you are in the country, Playworks provides high-energy workshops with coaching and support in your community. Our dedicated trainers work on location in schools and youth organizations of all sizes. This ensures every client receives high-quality, cost-effective service.
  • Effective, fun, professional service
    All of our programs are taught by professional trainers and have been carefully designed to impart tangible tools. Our objective is for your staff to become more successful in helping youth play well together, share, resolve conflicts, and develop leadership.

For a personalized assessment of how Playworks Pro can make a difference at your school or organization, submit the Training Assessment form and a local Playworks account manager will respond directly. You can also browse our Pro FAQs for quick answers to common inquiries.


Foundation Courses for Schools and Youth Organizations

Help your staff use play to unlock kids’ academic, social, emotional, and physical potential.

Power of Play

Get started with the fundamentals in this workshop that lays the foundation for creating a safe, healthy, and respectful environment.
Time: Half Day

Group Management 1

Utilize proactive group management with a half-day workshop to set students up for successful group behavior.
Time: Half Day

Indoor Recess

Approach recess indoors with the same enthusiasm as recess on the playground with a three-hour workshop designed to give you the tools and support you need.
Time: Three Hours

Advanced workshops

Schools are strongly encouraged to take Power of Play and Group Management 1 first. Then, these courses help your staff deepen their play facilitation skills.

Recess Design

Participants will identify games and strategies for implementing play at recess, develop a recess design for their site that aligns with the recess indicators, and create an action plan for their leadership and recess team to implement.

Group Management 2

Working with Challenging Behaviors — Because the most challenging youth often require the most support, we offer strategies for refocusing kids who exhibit disruptive behaviors while ensuring that all students’ needs are met. We address how to establish and follow through on effective rules and consequences.

Effective Game Facilitation

This workshop ensures that participants are comfortable facilitating games. In addition, we impart the Playworks methodology for transitioning between activities and building cooperation among kids.

Play Day Design

Participants will experience a modified Recess Play Day and design an action plan for a Play Day at your site.

Recess Program Sustainability

Participants identify strategies to ensure the sustainability of recess at your site and develop an action plan to implement sustainability strategies.

Read Playworks Pro Case Studies

May 10, 2017

How Canyons School District Improved Outcomes District-Wide With Playworks ›

When Utah introduced new state PE standards in 2015, Canyons knew they needed to act quickly. At the same time, they didn’t want to lose sight of their highest-priority strategies for their 29 schools. “We were really addressing four things at once,” recalls Allan Whitmore, Canyons’ evidence based learning specialist. “In addition to common teacher…

September 15, 2016

Fun and Games Means Learning for Teachers, Too ›

At The Waldorf School of Baltimore, “all fun and games” means serious learning—for teachers! This year, the school brought in Playworks trainer Sean Keelan to lead two days of hands-on workshops for teachers before the first day of school. Curious about partnering with Playworks? Read the Waldorf School of Baltimore’s blog “Fun & Games” to see how…

November 28, 2016

How One Tennessee School Turned Recess Around ›

When P.E. teacher Hannah Reinke found out that her students at Antioch Middle School in Nashville, Tennessee would get daily recess, she was thrilled. Then reality hit. Last year, Antioch Middle School borrowed time from other periods to give students recess for the first time. Seven teachers, including Reinke, were charged with leading a recess break…

Schools using Playworks Pro see a measurable difference.

98%of educators report an increase in the number of students engaged in healthy play at recess
95%of educators agree that Playworks improves overall school climate
86%of educators report a decrease in the amount of class time spent resolving conflicts

Results from a 2017 survey of 553 staff at Playworks Pro schools


How much does a Playworks Pro training cost?

Rates are based on program length, consultation visits, the number of participants attending, and travel fees. Our local Playworks account managers are happy to walk you through every step of our process. To receive a personalized assessment with no obligation to commit, please submit the Training Assessment form and we will get in touch within 48 business hours.

Is Playworks evidence-based?

Yes. A randomized controlled trial of Playworks conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and the John W. Gardner Center at Stanford University, suggests that there may be more to recess than just a break in the day. The study found that the program reduced bullying, improved feelings of safety, increased physical activity, and provided more time for classroom teaching.

In addition, we evaluate ourselves on every training that we deliver. Contact us for training program evaluation results from other schools and youth organizations just like yours.

Who should attend a Playworks Pro training?

We understand that every school and youth organization is unique and we are committed to working with you to make sure you have the right people in the room to realize the results you want to see.

Specifically, with our recess programs, we counsel schools on how to set up a recess team. See “Attendees” in our Recess 360 and Recess Implementation program descriptions for more detail.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of participants for trainings?

To keep the trainings interactive, participatory, and highly effective, we generally work with groups of a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 30 people before we bring in a second trainer.

If your program has more than 30 staff members, we recommend providing multiple trainings for smaller groups, or we can send additional trainers to work with the entire staff for a flat fee.

How do I know which Playworks Pro program is best for me?

Our training program descriptions contain detailed information about our customizable professional development programs that will empower your staff to create more opportunities for safe and healthy play, in and outside of the school day.

If you are looking to start a recess program at your school, Recess Implementation and Recess 360 are great options.

Can my school or youth organization schedule a training even if we are not near a Playworks office?

Yes. Playworks trainers travel anywhere and conduct our trainings at your site. Playworks trainers been all over the United States, and have even traveled to Canada, Ireland, and Taiwan!

How will a Playworks Pro training benefit the youth I work with?

Playworks Pro provides adults who work with youth the tools to create a safe, healthy and inclusive play program. The benefits kids receive from the environment created by a Playworks-trained adult include: an enriched and active recess or play experience, improved learning and academic performance, development of conflict resolution skills and youth leadership, and fewer incidences of bullying.

Can I attend a Playworks Pro training as an individual?

Yes. Due to increasing demand, Playworks has started offering open enrollment PlayShops in select locations. To find out more, Contact us.

How far in advance should I schedule a Playworks Pro training?

If you have a specific date in mind, we recommend contacting us 8-16 weeks in advance. If your dates are flexible, we can easily accommodate you. Fill out our Training Assessment to schedule a training.