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Website: playworks.org

Year founded:: 1996
Number of Employees: 54

Playworks is the leading nonprofit leveraging play as a tool to promote healthy behaviors, increase social/emotional learning and improve school climate.

Playworks New England currently supports safe and healthy play in 205 primarily low-income schools every day of the school year. Playworks partners with high-need elementary schools throughout New England with four levels of integrated services:

  • Coach: Our original direct service model. A full-time Playworks professional at a partner school engages students in recess programming, class-based action learning, youth leadership programs, and after-school sports leagues.
  • TeamUp: Our capacity building direct service model. A Playworks staff person consults with recess teams at four schools throughout the year to teach and model healthy play.
  • Pro: Our training model. Through a range of professional development workshops and consultation visits, Playworks trains adults to incorporate proven strategies of healthy play into their direct work.
  • Online Learning: PlayworksU provides video courses on demand that reinforce key concepts of safe and healthy play, supplemented by access to virtual consultative support.

A Stanford University/Mathematica Policy Research randomized control trial – the gold standard in evaluation – found that Playworks led to statistically significant impacts resulting in less bullying, higher feelings of student safety, more time engaged in vigorous physical activity, and less time transitioning from recess back to the classroom (2013).


As Senior Program Coordinator, Fellow will ensure strong program quality at all Playworks-based partner schools.


The Fellow’s direct service responsibilities will include the following:

  • Fellows will provide on-going coaching, technical assistance and co-delivery of Playworks’ three core program components. 1) Recess 2) Class Game Time and 3) Junior Coach Leadership Program.
  • In addition to serving as an ongoing quality control support, the FAO Fellow will be able to bridge one of Playworks’ biggest gaps—identifying and disseminating best practices from site to site.
  • Additionally, the FAO Fellow will travel to TeamUp sites throughout the region when the Playworks Site Coordinator is not present. This will allow the FAO Fellow to give feedback and advice to the school-staff that is implementing Playworks programming on their own—ensuring sustainability and program quality in partner schools.

The Fellow will improve brand awareness in the local community through a robust communication strategy and will be responsible for:

  • Collecting and highlighting stories from the field on our website, in emails, on social media, and printed materials.
  • Researching and advocating for recess policies in the New England region.
  • Sharing the new online tools and resources that Playworks has to offer schools with regions that are currently not partnering with Playworks.
  • Creating a systematic approach to communicating with current school partners and messaging the impact of our work to each school.
  • Managing our communication efforts via social media, online stories, and email campaigns.
  • Ensuring Playworks has the tools, systems, and capacity to sustain our communication strategy after the FAO Fellow term of service.

Applicants must be college seniors at the time of application and be eligible to work in the United States for the duration of the two-year Fellowship.

For more about what we are seeking, please see What We’re Looking For

Please send a resume and a cover letter to karleen.herbst@playworks.org by February 15 expressing your interest in working at Playworks and your reasons for applying for the FAO Schwarz Fellowship.

In your cover letter, please include your responses to the following questions:

Question 1: Why are you interested in being apart of the FAO Schwarz Fellowship?

Question 2: Why are you interested in applying for the FAO Schwarz Fellowship position at this organization?

Question 3: What background and experiences would you bring to the direct service and special project work at this organization?

We review each application carefully and will select our Fellow by April 30th. Thanks for your interest.