Playworks’ Values Extend Beyond the Playground

My first experience with Playworks was on a recess site visit in my capacity as a public health professional. I witnessed how a structured school play environment can also be child affirming, joyous, and a place for leadership development. Years ago as an AmeriCorps member, I had been a playground “Duty” and recess never looked this conflict-free and active.

Playworks is shaping the physical, situational and policy environments of the school. The physical changes in the space supported interaction and physical activity – for example a defined dance area with music. The situational environment, or how people interact within the space, had been invisibly structured to reduce the potential for conflict and encourage children to support one another. The school we visited trains all adults and children about the recess game rules—a policy that ensures the school community is reinforcing each other’s efforts. In the world of public health, this is known as a multi-level intervention. Research indicates it is the most robust way to support behavior changes.

I have explored the need for social, physical, and emotional supports as it relates to natural and inclusive play, children’s school attendance, healthy eating, and as a protective factor against Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). For me this first visit to a Playworks school mirrored what I had read in research and was an on-the-ground example of how to transform an underutilized time such as recess into a proactive youth building effort.

Your gift can help make recess count for kids across the country.

Donate today

More Stories of Play

kids and adults on tv set
kids and adults on tv set

Developing leaders on and off the playground ›

Before Playworks came to Gustavo’s school, he says recess was bland with just three options for how to spend the time. After Playworks came, there were actual games, regulations for games to make them consistent, a lot less harassment of people making fun of other people. “After Playworks, school felt like more of a safe…

empty room with words painted on walls
empty room with words painted on walls

The Difference a Caring Adult Makes in the City of Good Neighbors ›

“Schools are going weeks without hearing from kids. Calling it a tragedy doesn’t do it justice. Even if kids are safe, they’re still lost kids because they aren’t connected,” Tyler Davis, Playworks Site Coordinator in Buffalo, NY, explains about kids in the pandemic who haven’t been attending school virtually. At the end of the pandemic,…

Global Recess Alliance logo
Global Recess Alliance logo

Recess is Necessary ›

Researchers agree: it’s important to prioritize recess in how schools approach re-opening. The research community has come together to establish the Global Recess Alliance in an effort to bring attention to the essential role of recess during school reopening. These scholars, health professionals, and educational leaders agree that recess is critical for children’s physical and…

Stories from the Playground: Coach Hoops ›

It’s not every day that a Playworks #AmeriCorps Coach is honored by the Los Angeles Lakers, complete with a basketball clinic hosted by legendary forward A.C. Green. Then again, being treated to a center court awards ceremony at a Lakers game isn’t something a Playworks Coach experiences every day, either. But it’s her everyday actions…