Giving Compass' Take:

• Eliza Chappell Elementary School in Chicago partners with a nonprofit organization to help its students make the most of structured play. 

• Research shows that structured play can have a tremendous impact on students' abilities to develop meaningful relationships. How can donors help connect schools to the right nonprofits to facilitate play? 

• Learn how playgroups can help prepare children for school. 

Eliza Chappell Elementary School in Chicago handles recess time by directing some of the activities students do during their break, writes EdSurge. The play is structured by the nonprofit Playworks, which also has a full-time coach at the pre-K to 8th grade school.

Recess is about more than just giving students downtime, providing a way to weave in social skills, such as showing students how to handle conflict resolution, build resilience and be supportive of each other, school leaders say. The hope is these tools show children how to work together during class time as well.

Learning requires breaks — even short ones. Recess and other play-heavy periods not only offer students the opportunity during the school day to build social-emotional skills, but they also may help students pay better attention when in class, says one international expert.​

Some educators reported in a 2017 study that after giving students a chance to move around for just five minutes before a test, they performed better on exams. This point was echoed in a 2018 study that found one elementary school that doubled the number of recess periods offered during the day saw math test scores increase.

Read the full article about schools adding structured play by Lauren Barack at Education Dive.