Playworks' mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.
In 1996, Playworks Founder Jill Vialet got an earful from a principal she was visiting in Oakland, California. Rather than recess being a happy, playful time for the kids, the principal lamented that it had become the most chaotic period of the school day, with kids getting hurt, getting into trouble and getting left out. In that moment Jill saw an opportunity to change recess, to make it a positive and productive time for all kids. Enter Playworks! Playworks is the leading organization working to make recess into a transformational tool for educators and children and have it contribute to the school day. Through 23 years of practice and research we have developed services that increases physical activity, accelerates learning, teaches conflict resolution, greatly reduces or eliminates bullying, empowers educators, and returns instruction time to teachers.
Playworks Colorado opened in 2010 with seven school partners and has grown to serve twenty-eight schools through our Coach and TeamUp services and an additional eight schools with Playworks Pro. We have had nine years of learning and growing and now seamlessly fit into school programs around the Denver metro area and throughout Colorado, improving the school day for students and educators.
As a 3rd grader, Lailaney found the playground to be a volatile place, leading to relentless teasing which resulted in her missing school, skipping lunch and recess, and countless tears. By the time Lailaney reached 5th grade, her school had partnered with Playworks, and with safe, inclusive recess options, Lailaney felt empowered not only to participate in games, but to become a youth leader. Now Lailaney helps makes the playground a safe and fun space for all students.
Lailaney was one of 300 Junior Coaches participating in the Playworks Junior Coach Leadership Program in the 2018-2019 school year. This program meets weekly after school and teaches students leadership skills and encourages teams of students to work together to learn games, play respectively, and develop positive conflict resolution strategies. Junior Coaches are equipped to lead and teach these skills appropriately to their classmates.
Hear about the transformation for yourself from Lailaney and school staff in this CBS news story: https://denver.cbslocal.com/2019/02/15/playworks-colorado-montview-elementary/