This program received support from the Foundation between 2005 and 2015.
Harnessing the power of play to bring out the best in every kid.
Playworks transforms recess into an opportunity for children to grow physically, socially and emotionally.
Play has a critical role in early childhood. It helps children learn to self-regulate and control their behavior. It teaches skills like taking turns, sharing, and working as a team.
Playworks strengthens the social, emotional, and physical development of children by providing safe, healthy and inclusive play and physical activity to low-income schools at recess. It teaches children to resolve conflicts that arise at recess and carry over to the classroom, restoring valuable teaching and learning time and preventing bullying.
Over more than a decade, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has been a major supporter of Playworks' approach to play as a positive force for children’s development. In connection with broader investments in supporting healthy children, RWJF has funded the expansion Playworks' direct service model from two schools in Berkeley, Calif.,to a presently more than 1,200 schools across the United States. Additionally, RWJF has funded an evaluation of how well the Playworks model improves children’s physical, social, and academic skills.
Grants and Grant Programs
RWJF supports programs to help everyone in our nation have the opportunity to live healthier lives.
Playworks is improving the health and well-being of children through safe, meaningful play, and using recess to make a better school day.
Blog PostWhat I Learned from Scaling Playworks into a National Movement
August 30, 2016
Jill Vialet’s idea to transform the school day through the power of play started with just two schools and now serves more than 1,300 nationwide. Playworks CEO and founder shares the tough lessons she learned about scale during her journey.
Journal ArticlePlaying Fair: The Contribution of High-Functioning Recess to Overall School Climate in Low-Income Elementary Schools
January 1, 2015
The old joke that recess is your favorite subject at school turns out to be quite serious. Research shows it contributes to physical well being, as well as improved academic achievement. Read the study about RWJF’s grantee, Playworks.
National Expansion of Playworks: A Program that Promotes Physical Activity and Play at Schools (Phase 2)
Tue Apr 29 00:00:00 EDT 2008
The Foundation's program, National Expansion of Sports4Kids: A Program that Promotes Physical Activity and Play at Schools - 2008-2012, was designed to support the second phase of a national expansion of Sports4Kids, an innovative program that uses play to promote physical activity and youth development in schools.
Evaluating the implementation of Playworks in eight San Francisco and Silicon Valley schools
Tue Jul 28 00:00:00 EDT 2009
This evaluation will assess implementation of Sports4Kids at eight California elementary schools and the ways that the program affects students, school personnel and the schools' climate overall. The grantee will answer four questions: (1) What are the students' experiences in terms of their participation in structured play, their ability to focus and learn in class, and their emotional, social and psychological needs? (2) In what ways does Sports4Kids affect school personnel, particularly regarding classroom management? (3) In what ways does Sports4Kids affect the school climate overall? (4) What are the eight schools' experiences with program implementation? This project will cast light on program outcomes and permit the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to better measure them, but it will not replace a formal evaluation of those outcomes.
Evaluating Playworks' model that uses exercise and play to maximize students' physical, social and academic skills
Wed Apr 14 00:00:00 EDT 2010
This randomized trial will evaluate outcomes of Playworks, a program for structured play during recess, school time and after school in poor urban school districts. RWJF has funded Playworks to expand into 650 schools in 27 cities by 2012.