Playworks has been a vital part of our transformation as a school. Not only do the kids now have complete ownership of our Playground, they take an immense amount of pride in being leaders on our campus. Each junior coach takes their role to heart and will often be found making sure they have adjusted their schedule and have everything ready to help their fellow classmates have a successful day on the playground. With the elimination of the words "you're out" and the addition of "good job nice try," even those students who have to get back in line and try again aren't discouraged and instead are excited to give it another go. Overall we have seen a decrease of conflict on the playground as a direct result of the implementation of the Playworks program. Under the direction of our site coach, this program has been fantastic for the overall structure and routines of all our recesses, an opportunity for kids to learn good sportsmanship, an opportunity for kids and teachers to participate in fun physical activities both as teams and individuals, and a fantastic leadership opportunity for our students.
My children attended a high poverty, very diverse elementary school in Milwaukee. The first week Playworks piloted a program there, my children every night at dinner showed us all the games they learned.
Once Playworks came to the school, i saw firsthand how it strengthened the school environment. The parent teacher association chose Playworks as the one thing it raised money for through Friday night taco dinners. This was a school with over 80% free and reduced lunch so the fact parents supported this says a lot.
My oldest daughter who used to sit and read during recess began participating in activities and moving instead. My younger daughter who had never liked being in activities and programs loved it. She joined their no rules basketball league and volleyball league and loved them - the only sports she's played to this day. Two of my children were junior coaches and took it quite seriously. My son who could misbehave at times did not want to jeopardize his role and was super responsible about it. They loved running the games for younger kids.
I wish all schools had Playworks to engage kids in activity, prevent bullying, and engage kids as collaborators and leaders. I wish they had still had it in middle school!
Playworks has been a very inclusive model for all students and the philosophy encourages students of all abilities to join. The program encourages typical peers to be supportive of students that have differences from them.
One of my students is on the Autism spectrum. He has a strong desire to join activities and doing what other students are involved in doing. When recess is unstructured, he tends to hang out by himself and not engage with other students. When there are structured games, such as switch, tag, or duck duck goose, he is able to access the activity.
He is happy because gets to join a game and have fun when there is a game format and routine. In addition, he gets to benefit from working on his IEP goals because he has to take turns, wait, and be flexible with the small details. One of the great things about Playworks is there is never too much waiting and there are always clear directions about returning. Everyone is trained to cheer for everyone so this student always feels good even when the skill is a challenge for him.
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.
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 Playworks...you are the best!
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.
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!
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.