Kids spend a lot of time at school. Movement and physical activity can be an essential part of learning and brain development. Could it be that recess is not an excess, but a necessity?
Aside from physical development, here are some reasons why recess is important:
Often Main Source of Exercise
In addition to the mental pause, recess appears to be the most effective way to keep kids active. A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 42 percent of the nation’s schoolchildren get most of their total daily exercise at recess—more than do so in P.E. or after-school programs. For sure, in light of America’s childhood-obesity problem (17 percent of kids between 2 and 19 are obese), participating in recess is one of the few inexpensive, readily available opportunities we have to get kids moving. ~Parenting.com
Recess increases focus. Dr. Olga Jarrett, with her colleagues at Georgia State University’s Department of Early Childhood Education, approached an urban school district that had a no-recess policy. They received permission for two fourth-grade classes to have recess once a week so they could observe the children’s behavior on recess and non-recess days. Their results showed that the 43 children became more on-task and less fidgety on days when they had recess. Sixty percent of the children, including five with attention deficit disorder, worked more and/or fidgeted less on recess days. ~PathwaysToFamilyWellness
Helps With Social Skills
Recess develops social skills. Recess may be the only time during the day when children have an opportunity to experience socialization and real communication. Children don’t engage in the neighborhood play of earlier generations, so once the school day ends, there may be little chance for unstructured, natural social development. After all, in class children generally are not encouraged to socialize, but rather are expected to conform and remain quiet. Some school policies even go so far as to prevent children from talking to one another during lunch. How can children with so few opportunities to socialize and communicate be expected to live and work together in harmony as adults? When and where will they learn how? ~PathwaysToFamilyWellness
Makes Learning Time More Efficient
It has been proved that children learn better when learning is distributed and includes breaks. Learning conducted in long stretches is not very effective as children are unable to process all the information. This is especially critical in younger children whose nervous system is not as mature and who are not as experienced as older kids. Breaks which involve unstructured play are more beneficial in the learning process and helps in boosting efficiency. ~NewKidsCenter
Yes, kids get stressed too and recess can help!
Unstructured physical play reduces stress. The National Association for the Education of Young Children recommends unstructured physical play as a developmentally appropriate means of reducing stress in children’s lives – and studies show that stress has a negative impact on learning as well as on health. For many children, especially those who are hyperactive or potentially so, recess is an opportunity to blow off steam. Outdoors, children can engage in behaviors (loud, messy, and boisterous) considered unacceptable and annoying indoors. And because recess is a break from structure and expectations, children have an opportunity to take control of their world, which is a rarity in their lives. ~SelfGrowth
What do you think about this important issue?