Playworks is a primary school based programme designed to improve break times for children and teachers. Playworks creates inclusive environments for play and physical activity both within and beyond the school day to build empathy, increase learning and improve behaviour, with research showing essential benefits to child development, an improved school climate and more focused students.
In Playworks' experience, diminishing opportunities for unsupervised play in our society have left children with a very thin understanding of how to manage their own play, and that it is important to have grown-ups introduce some basic rules to make play work. Physical inactivity and growing levels of obesity among children have also become a major issue in many communities.
Playworks (originally Sports4Kids) was founded in 1996 by Jill Vialet, after a meeting with a principal in Oakland, California, who identified recess as a particularly challenging element of the school day. Playworks’ goal is to transform recess and the school day with safe and healthy play so teachers can teach and kids can learn. In 2013, Playworks is directly serving 185,000 students in 23 cities in the US, and another 275,000 through training services. Playworks is also up and running in a number of schools across Ireland. Galway Education Centre is a Playworks hub hosting training events and acting as the central point for all things Playworks in Ireland.