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.

Learn more about our grantmaking

Related Content

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  • 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.

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