By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A recent Pulitzer Prize winning article in the Philadelphia Inquirer on school violence and many news stories about bullying have turned public attention to ways of making kids’ lives safer and less chaotic. Particularly in low-income neighborhoods, the specter of poverty and crime does not foster healthy interaction.

A new rigorous study from Mathematica and Stanford University looked at outcomes when schools used Playworks, a national nonprofit currently providing healthy recess and safe playtime in 23 cities nationwide, including eight in Philadelphia public schools.

Playworks fosters physical activity through play, improves social skills like cooperation and conflict resolution and creates a better school climate. Placing trained full-time adults in schools has been shown to prevent bullying, and increase readiness for class, better attendance as well as higher participation in academic activities.

Teachers in Playworks schools perceived that students felt safer and more included at recess, compared to teachers in the control schools. The model works.

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