Playworks Arizona improves the health of children with opportunities for physical activity and meaningful play while giving them social skills and helping them live up to their potential.
Partnering with over 95 elementary schools across the valley and serving about 58,000 students, Playworks Arizona provide schools with innovative ways of learning that tap into children’s innate love of play. Executive Director of Playworks Kerryann Tomlinson says playing games is an easy way to instill social and learning skills into kids.
“We have what we call a site coordinator,” Tomlinson says. “They work with everyone from the principal to all the teachers to the students in the classroom. They’re teaching them games, but the kids aren’t realizing they’re actually learning skills to how to be a better leader, how to install teamwork, how to resolve conflict and how to show respect for each other.”
Tomlinson says they’ve had 82 percent of the staff from the schools they work with tell them that bullying has decreased. She says that’s because Playworks pushes inclusion and participation.
“We are giving them the opportunity to play in an organized game setting, so every kid plays,” Tomlinson says. “You don’t see kids who aren’t playing or who aren’t participating.”
An increase in conflict resolution among students is also another benefit of working with Playworks. The kids are taught to solve their conflicts through a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. They each understand that whoever beats the other wins, and there’s nothing to fight about. Tomlinson says they are able to let the conflict go rather than bringing it into class and letting it disrupt their learning time.
Tomlinson says Playworks is always looking to expand the program. The community plays a key role, as the program primarily runs on donations. More information on Playworks can be found at playworks.org/arizona.