Rating: 4.97 stars   67 reviews

Nonprofit Issues:


380 Washington St. Oakland CA 94607 USA


To improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.

Target demographics:

Direct service: low-income elementary schools Training: all schools and youth organizations

Direct beneficiaries per year:

130,000 directly

Geographic areas served:

We serve low-income schools in urban cities around the country through our direct service program. Playworks Training provides training and technical service to adults who work with schools around the country.


Direct service which provides a full-time, trained and supervised coordinator at each school providing five components (recess, class game time, junior coach leadership development, out-of-school programming, and interscholastic leagues) to the school. Our Training department provides four training options to schools, school districts and other youth organizations: recess implementation, recess 360, out-of-school time series and workshops energized.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Playworks

Rating: 4 stars  

Play works is a fabulous program that teaches kids to be active. They include in their program problem solving skills that help kids work through issues that arise during recess time. Kids have a lot of fun and learn to include others in any game they are playing. The first year we had Playworks at our school, we moved into a new school and we didn't have our playground installed until a couple months into school. I was very worried about kids not having anything to do and I was worried that without the playground equipment there was going to be a lot of problems. Playworks was all we had for recess time. What I witnessed were kids being active, having fun and including others and we didn't have any office referrals until a couple months later when the playground equipment was installed. I have seen the benefits of how PLAY does WORK when kids are taught problem solving skills and how to all play together.

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Rating: 5 stars  

They are at our school and we have LOVED them. I don't know what we would do without them and the coaches they provide at our school. Thank you are the best!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Playworks helped to create dynamic culture change at recess and throughout the school day over the course of our three year partnership. As principal of the school, I saw a large reduction in behavior referrals from recess and lunch. More importantly, I saw students take the problem solving skills they learned during play and transfer them to situations throughout the school from interpersonal conflict to academic groups.

Since partnering with Playworks, I have been fortunate enough to help support their work as a Board Member. I have seen first hand the level of dedication their staff has to providing play and leadership opportunities to the children of Chicago and i have been continually impressed by the caliber of coaches they recruit year after year. This organization is a true gem in the education non-profit sector.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am an elementary school principal in a high poverty school in Los Angeles County. We brought Playworks to our school 4 years ago to help our students gain the critical social skills that they must have in order to lead successful, happy lives. We were doing a great job with the academics but our playground and social environment was in need of improvement. I was seeing 4-6 students per day in the office because of playground conflict and poor decisions. That adds up to many kids missing instruction and at times being suspended. Since the FIRST day Playworks arrived on our campus, referrals to the office and suspensions have nearly disappeared! It may sound unbelievable but it was so true that several other schools in our district tried it and had the same results. Our district leadership took notice of the results and we have adopted Playworks as part of our district-wide program. Our time on learning has climbed and out referrals have plummeted all across our district

In education, everybody is always looking for a "magic wand" that creates massive positive change instantly. In my 30+ years in education, Playworks is the only "magic wand" I have ever found that actually works. If anything, Playworks over delivers excellence! Just walk onto my campus and ask any random group of kids what they think about "Coach" (our Playworks Coach) and you will get a HUGE CHEER from them! All 17 elementary principals in my district say it is the best thing that has come to their school ever!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Playworks is an incredible organization. The way the coaches teach the children to play really changes the way the playground runs. The children are now able to communicate with one another and solve their own problems. Playworks builds confidence in children and encourages healthy behavior through play. Coach Wayne specifically is one of the most fantastic educators and Playworks coaches on Earth. His dedication to his school and his playground is unreal. The students at Bahia Vista have learned how to respect each other on the playground, and bullying has decreased while fun and physical activity has increased. Every school deserves a Playworks coach - Playworks can change the world.

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