Julio NuñezAssistant Principal, Philip H. Sheridan Elementary SchoolPhiladelphia, PA
Over the past four 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 schools typically have widened to include play and exercise and the importance of soft skills in developing these young minds. With the help of caring coaches, a thoughtful structure, and prioritized playtime, Playworks helped 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.
Last year during its first year at Sheridan, Playworks program changed attitudes from children to the families and 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.
Having Playworks becomes a necessity to counter the long-term impact of this pandemic… Having Playworks again this year would allow our school to continue its sharp focus on physical activity and healthy habits and on countering the systemic disparities.