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233. Playworks and the Power of Recess with Elizabeth Cushing

Play is powerful. Not only is it critical to the individual development of children, but it can create schoolwide cultures of inclusion, celebration, and healthy conflict resolution. No one knows this better than our guest on the show today, Elizabeth Cushing, CEO of Playworks. 

For almost 30 years, Playworks has worked to give kids a safe, healthy, inclusive recess experience. They partner with schools, starting with a Great Recess Framework evaluation. Then they place Playworks staff at the schools for recess, implementing the basics: Rock, paper, scissors as a conflict resolution tool; high fives; and positive language coming from adults. Plus, they train near-peer mentors as Junior Coaches, allowing kids to shine as leaders at their school.

Beyond discussing the importance of play, both for kids and adults, we also dive into Playworks’ approach to sharing its practices with other organizations. Often nonprofits hesitate to share their “secret sauce” with other nonprofits, not wanting to risk their piece of the funding pie. Elizabeth explains how, for the sake of helping as many kids as possible, Playworks moved past this.

In fact, you can check out Playworks’ free YouTube resources after you listen to the show!

To learn more, visit:

We unbox:

  • How recess can set the tone for the whole day

  • The basics norms Playworks establishes for recesses 

  • Why Playworks now makes its practices available to other organizations


Produced by NOVA Media


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