Federal News in Brief

Foundation Donates $18 Million To Expand Playground Program

By Lesli A. Maxwell — September 22, 2008 1 min read

One of the nation’s largest donors to public-health causes last week announced an $18 million gift to help efforts to revive recess and playtime in inner-city schools.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s investment is expected to help Sports4Kids, a national nonprofit organization in Oakland, Calif., expand its program to more than 600 schools in 27 cities and to reach 1 million poor children. It provides games and organized sports during recess and teaches students to resolve conflicts peacefully. (“Baltimore District Tackles High Suspension Rates,” April 25, 2007.)

Sports4Kids works in dozens of elementary schools in Baltimore, Boston, and the District of Columbia. The organization trains adults—often AmeriCorps members—to help supervise playgrounds and to teach students to play classic schoolyard games such as kickball and four square. The group works closely with principals to develop programs for each site, and teaches children to settle playground disputes with the old-fashioned game of “rock, paper, scissors.”

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A version of this article appeared in the September 24, 2008 edition of Education Week

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