More students in Milwaukee public schools will enjoy a safe and inclusive recess while learning valuable life skills, thanks to a gift of $100,000 from The Burke Foundation. The award to Playworks Wisconsin will extend Playworks programming into additional Milwaukee area schools as an effort to strengthen the social, emotional and physical development of nearly 8,000 children. Playworks creates a place on the playground for every kid to belong, have fun and be part of the game. Playworks Wisconsin has been working in low-income public schools in Wisconsin since January, 2012.
“We are honored to partner with Playworks Wisconsin to build a culture of play, inclusiveness and teamwork to more Milwaukee public schools this fall," said Deanna Singh, executive director of The Burke Foundation. “Play is an essential part of children's development. The investment we are making extends beyond the playground. When we provide opportunities for children to learn new skills on the playground, such as teamwork, collaboration, conflict resolution and more, they can thrive as individuals and as part of a community long after elementary school.”
With this new source of funding, Playworks Wisconsin plans to expand its services from 12 schools to 15 Milwaukee Public Schools for the 2014-2015 school year, its third full-year of service, sharing its core values of respect, inclusion, healthy play and healthy community through a school-wide movement of play.
“The addition of The Burke Foundation to our Playworks Wisconsin family will enable us to provide a safe environment for even more children to learn the skills they need to be their best selves,” said Kristina Olkowski, executive director or Playworks Wisconsin. “Our programming engages our kids in meaningful play opportunities, giving them an outlet to release stress, resulting in less bullying on the playground and more participation in the classroom.”
A randomized control trial conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and Stanford University found that Playworks schools have less bullying and exclusionary behavior; transitions from recess to learning activities are easier; students play more vigorously at recess and have better behavior and attention in class after participation in sports, games and play. In addition, teachers at Playworks schools perceive students to be safer during recess and engage in more inclusive play.