Playworks

At a Glance

National Office: 
380 Washington Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: 510-893-4180

Jill Vialet
People Served: 
900,000
Year Founded: 
1996
Tax ID: 
94-3251867

Focus area(s):

Early Education
K-12 Reform
Fitness & Nutrition

Description

Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that improves the educational environment by providing safe and healthy play and physical activity in schools at recess and throughout the entire school day. In 2016-17, Playworks reaches 900,000 students in 1,800 elementary schools nationwide.

Impact and Outcomes

95% of principals and teachers at Playworks schools reported increases in the level of participation in classroom activities.
85% of principals and teachers at Playworks schools reported a decrease in bullying behaviors on the playground.
97% of principals and teachers at Playworks schools reported an increase in the number of students who are physically active.
Playworks teachers reported recovering an average of 18 hours of teaching time per year, per class due to smoother transitions from recess to the classroom.

Mission & Goals

Playworks’ mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Playworks is the leading national nonprofit to leverage play as a tool to promote healthy behaviors, increase social/emotional learning, and improve the school climate.

 

Playworks reaches every kid every day of the school year.Playworks uses play, a universally accessible activity, to establish new norms for respectful social behavior and to increase physical activity. When children have opportunities to learn conflict resolution skills, feel included, be active, and practice leadership on the playground, they go back to class focused and ready to learn.

 

Playworks is exceptional in delivering a developmentally-appropriate prevention and early intervention program to elementary school children. Because our model focuses on recess, Playworks does not take time away from class, but actually returns teaching time (over 18 hours per year, per classroom!).

 

Playworks not only focuses on play as a means to bring out the best in every kid, we are also the only organization to successfully train thousands of school-based staff to leverage play in a manner that teaches the social/emotional skills children need to succeed. School climates change because children are active participants in their own play, internalizing the healthy interactions they learn and carrying the behaviors into the rest of the day. At a Playworks school, students feel physically and emotionally safe, are focused on learning, and apply simple conflict resolution techniques to disagreements.

Program

In order to improve children’s social/emotional skills and create the most effective educational climate possible, Playworks currently offers three levels of integrated services to schools and districts. This year, these programs reach 900,000 students in 1,800 schools across the country.

Coach: A full-time Playworks professional at a partner school delivers our four-component program every school day.

TeamUp: A Playworks staff person consults with recess teams at four schools throughout the year to teach and model healthy play.

Pro: Through a range of professional development workshops and consultation visits, Playworks trains adults to incorporate proven strategies of healthy play into their direct work with kids.

 

Playworks recently began providing district-wide supports, reaching every elementary school student in partner school districts. In coming years Playworks will be expanding our integrated service delivery to include online learning, the Safe and Healthy Play Pledge, Powered by Playworks school certifications, and partnerships with other child-serving organizations around the country.

 

All Playworks services rely on the support of skilled adults who use play to teach children the social skills necessary to succeed in the classroom and in life. Playworks matches each of our partner schools with the service that best builds its capacity to use the power of play to bring out the best in every kid.

Impact

In the 2016-17 school year, Playworks reaches 900,000 children in 1,800 schools across the country.

 

A Stanford University randomized control trial – the gold standard in evaluation – found that the Playworks Coach service led to statistically significant impacts. Playworks results in less bullying, higher feelings of student safety, more time engaged in vigorous physical activity, and less time transitioning from recess back to the classroom.

A study published in 2015 in the Journal of School Health found that Playworks led to a fundamental positive shift in school climate in the short time frame of one school year. The study also noted that a positive school climate has been linked to a host of favorable student outcomes, from attendance to achievement. (Playing Fair, January 2015)

 

Results from recent surveys of 7,407 principals, vice principals, and teachers from Playworks schools across the country paint a more comprehensive picture:

 

  • 95% said Playworks increases the level of participation in classroom activities.
  • 85% reported a decrease in bullying behaviors on the playground.
  • 93% reported an increase in student use of conflict resolution strategies.
  • 97% reported an increase in the number of students who are physically active.
  • Teachers reported recovering an average of 18 hours of teaching time per year, per class due to smoother transitions from recess to the classroom.
  • 95% want Playworks to return to their school next year.

Growth Plan

For 20 years, Playworks has been leveraging the power of safe, healthy play to help children build skills for success in school and in life. We are the largest national organization using play to transform school culture and bring out the best in every kid, reaching 1,800 schools and 900,000 students in 2016-17.

 

But what we do now is just a drop in the bucket. Our vision is that one day every child in America will have access to safe, fun, healthy play every day. And when we say every child, we mean it. Our strategic goal is that, across the country, 3.5 million kids in 7000 elementary schools will experience safe and healthy play by December 2020. This is 10% of all public elementary schools in the country -- a tipping point for widespread social change.

 

Powered by Playworks is our comprehensive strategy to change the education system and make this vision possible. In order to scale at this level, Playworks will have to expand beyond our current delivery models and build a Play Movement. We believe this is possible because demand for our services from schools and districts across the country shows that play is being widely recognized as a powerful strategy to improve the education environment.

 

Playworks’ growth plan up to now has focused on word-of-mouth expansion propelled by principals, teachers, and parents. In order to reach our goal, more leaders in education will have to understand what grassroots educators already know -- that play has the power to bring out the best in every kid and to transform school environments.

Over the next five years, Playworks will develop and innovate our services to ultimately embed healthy play into school and district operations. First, we will increase the number of schools implementing our model of play directly. Second, we will target strategic school districts to create partnerships that establish Playworks methodologies for the long term. Third, through digital tools and communications we will inspire and support schools remotely to join the Play Movement. We believe that as children’s outcomes improve at schools and throughout school districts, and as educators learn to maintain healthy play without our direct support, the Play Movement will grow.

 

We invite you to read our National Strategic Plan for building a Play Movement and to join us in our efforts to bring safe, healthy play to every kid every day.

Location of Sites

National Office: 
380 Washington Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: 510-893-4180
List of locations

To make a contribution to a program site:

  1. Click on the "Make a Contribution Now" button and include the name, city and state of the program you would like to support, in the "notes" text box on the organization's donation form, if available.
  2. If a "notes" or "designation" box is not available, write the city and state on your check in the "notes" section or call the national office to designate your contribution to a local program site.

Locations in the following states:

Arizona

California

Colorado

District Of Columbia

Illinois

Louisiana

Massachusetts

Maryland

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

North Carolina

New Jersey

New Mexico

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Texas

Utah

Wisconsin

Financials

Most Recent Budget

Year Ended:

2017

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$5,186,500
Foundation Grants: 
$5,274,598
Government Funding: 
$3,329,420
Contributions from Individuals: 
$2,345,150
Special Events: 
$2,429,400
Program Services Fees: 
$18,530,601
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$10,391,947
Total Revenue: 
$47,487,616

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$36,768,273
Occupancy: 
$1,214,965
Travel & Entertainment: 
$1,572,884
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$486,225
Telephone & Communications: 
$231,074
Payments to Affiliates: 
$661,321
Other Expenses: 
$6,043,797
Other Expenses (Description): 

Professional Services, Office Equipment and Furniture, Fundraising Expenses, Program Expenses, Recruitment and Training, Marketing, Insurance, Depreciation
Other Expenses (Description): 

Total Expenses: 
$46,978,539

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain/Loss: 
$509,077

Prior Year Actuals

Year Ended:

2011

REVENUE

Corporate Grants: 
$4,242,997
Foundation Grants: 
$7,330,256
Government Funding: 
$2,426,000
Contributions from Individuals: 
$2,208,260
Program Services Fees: 
$11,732,385
Membership Dues: 
$0
Other Earned Income: 
$0
Other Revenue: 
$16,750
Other Revenue (Description): 
In-kind contributions and investment income.
Special Events: 
$3,391,316
Total Revenue: 
$31,347,964

EXPENSES

Salaries, Related Salaries & Professional Fees: 
$25,241,563
Occupancy: 
$932,644
Travel & Entertainment: 
$1,797,038
Office Supplies, Printing, Postage: 
$362,464
Telephone & Communication: 
$219,426
Payments to Affiliates: 
$1,743,797
Other Expenses: 
$564,637
Other Expenses (Description): 

Program supplies, staff recruitment, bad debt, interest, marketing, and insurance.

Total Expenses: 
$30,861,569

NET GAIN/LOSS

Net Gain / Loss: 
$486,395

Major Funders

Einhorn Family Charitable Trust

Jenesis Group

 

S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

 

Kaiser Permanente

Laureus Sport For Good Foundation USA

New Balance Foundation

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

 

Colorado Health Foundation

El Camino Health Care District

Mattel Children's Foundation

Northwest Health Foundation