Game Changing Results
Since that initial visit, I've talked with principals, teachers, and students at many Playworks schools. Principals tell me they are spending less time disciplining students. Teachers tell me they can spend more time teaching because students return to class focused and ready to learn. Kids tell me how much they love their Playworks coach and why they look forward to recess every day. And parents describe how they've seen their children transformed by the positive energy on the playground.
But the program’s success isn't just anecdotal.
Researchers from Stanford University and Mathematica Policy Research recently completed a multi-year, randomized controlled study, looking at schools with and without Playworks in five cities. The research shows many benefits of the program, including less bullying, enhanced feelings of safety at school, more vigorous physical activity for students, and teachers reclaiming valuable classroom time for instruction.
Improving School Climate
At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we recognize that education is one of the most important forces in shaping health throughout our lives, and it's why we're deeply involved in schools.
Playworks represents a bright spot in RWJF's ongoing support of the growing movement to create a flourishing culture of health in America. A big part of that is making schools safe, healthy places where every student can thrive physically, socially and emotionally. At schools with Playworks, physical activity, fun, and learning is going up, while bullying and discipline problems are going down. And that is definitely a step in the right direction.