Would you believe a great recess can transform a school?

From test scores to school culture, from safety to inclusion, today’s elementary schools have several important priorities. But at too many schools, recess is an overlooked opportunity for accomplishing these goals.

Studies have shown that what happens on the playground impacts the entire school day. A report from the Institute of Medicine found that children who are more active “show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.”

At Playworkswe have over 25 years of experience working with elementary schools, and we’ve found that a great recess means fewer fights, fewer injuries, and fewer trips to the principal’s office – and students coming back to class ready to learn. Recess can be a time for children to gain the experiences that prepare them for success in and out of the classroom.

With a better recess...



of educators report an increase in students' ability to focus in class



of educators report an increase in the number of students who are physically active at recess



of educators report an increase in children resolving their own conflicts positively*

It doesn’t have to be rocket science.

We believe that all schools should experience the benefits of a better recess. With Recess Lab, we’re opening up what we’ve learned, so that everyone – from teachers to parents to principals – can discover the power that play has to bring out the best in every kid. From giving more frequent high-fives to getting adults playing too, all it takes are a few small changes to start seeing a big impact. 

See how it works at George Peabody School

Learning to wait their turn

Clear rules help kids participate responsibly in games. Find out how to create (and stick to) simple recess guidelines at your school.

But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

Whether you want to improve transitions, reduce bullying, or encourage personal responsibility, we have tips, tricks, and tools that are easy for you to try. Explore our resources and discover solutions that are right for your school and your students.

And if you want to see how your school is already doing, take our Recess Checkup. We’ll help you confirm what’s working and uncover areas for improvement.

*From the Playworks 2019 Annual Survey.