I have been associated with PLAYWORKS for 4 years as a school district administrator and for the last year as a Board member. As an organization, PLAYWORKS excels in executing their vision and mission to bring out the best in every child through play. We have data to show dramatic improvements in recess behavior as tracked through Office Disciplinary Referrals, and improved school wide behavior as measured by PBIS SET data. All students learn conflict resolution strategies in context, and the opportunities provided to Junior Coaches for leadership training are superior to any I have seen. The PLAYWORKS Executive Director leads this non-profit with passion and skill, and constantly seeks opportunities to grow the organization, build connections, expand services and include diverse groups. School-based Coaches (often Americorp personnel) are well-trained, well-supervised and very effective.
I was fortunate enough to see this amazing program in action for 2 years in Oakland in 2002. The staff and program changed the dynamic of the elementary school and the lives of the students. The students were eager for recess and learned lifelong conflict resolution skills.
Recess is often a time when students engage in negative behavior and this transfers throughout the rest of their school day. This can have a very powerful impact on their academic achievement.
I only wish Playworks was in the current school that I work in-we could really use their help!
I have seen the impact Playworks has on the playground and it's truly phenomenal. Their staff are upbeat and passionate about working with kids, and it translates into kids with good attitudes and lots of healthy physical activity. They're growing fast and smart. And I love how they figured out how to take something as simple as recess and made it such a gamechanger not only for the school day, but for kids' overall success.