Why We Need To PLAY More in Schools

Last year I started volunteering for an amazing organization called Playworks.

Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that supports learning by providing safe, healthy, inclusive play and physical activity to schools, not only at recess, but throughout the entire day.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsPEIzDMnBE&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Playworks actually trains staff and volunteers in specially crafted games, created by them, that encourage social inclusiveness, physical activity and imagination. They are now in over 15 cities nationwide!

Why Do We Need More Play in Schools?

Surveys of principals and teachers in Playworks’ schools reveal:

  1. Less Bullying: 86% report that incidents of bullying during recess has decreased.

 

  1. Less Wasted Time: 84% of staff report a decrease in the amount of time spent transitioning from recess to the classroom (which means more time for learning).

 

  1. Kids Like School More Overall: 85% of of schools report students were more engaged in school since having the program and 72% of students report Playworks made them want to attend school more.

 

  1. More Cooperation: 89% of school staff reports that Playworks increased the level of cooperation among students in the classroom.

 

  1. More Time for Learning: 36 hours of re-claimed class time annually for every teacher in the Playworks schools.

These are some amazing results! More play means more learning! More play means less bullying!

I believe that one of the ways we can fix schools is to have more active, engaging, healthy play. I also believe this is one of the major ways to combat bullying.

As an adult, I love going into the schools to volunteer. I go in for recess every Wednesday and play with Kindergarteners through 7th graders. The best part is that Playworks games were created to actually build skills in fun ways. They encourage memory —when they have to learn new rules. They also encourage reading non-verbal behavior during “silent” games when kids have to observe each other’s body language. I also love seeing kids get to know each other and socialize with everyone equally.

Playworks is literally and symbolically game-changing. Help me bring play back into our schools and our kid’s lives. Here are my challenges for you, my lovely readers:

 

  1. Find out if you have Playworks in your school.
  2. If not, find out how to get it!
  3. Volunteer at a local school and help kids learn to play.
  4. Learn more about the Playworks cause.

Flickr Image from National Wales Assembly

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