Schools are in a tough spot these days.
Between the pressures to meet minimum student performance standards and needing to work within slimmer budget constraints, recess has become an expendable program. More time is spent in class and fewer resources are needed for playground supervision and maintenance.
It is a decision that seems straightforward on the surface but, as it turns out, could have a host of negative unintended consequences.
Grades could suffer
Many studies have been conducted on the relationship between recess and grades. The results indicate that a mental and physical break from classes helps to refocus the kids’ attention span and burn off extra energy that is distracting in the classroom.
Kids are naturally active and curious about the world around them. They are not well suited to extended periods of prolonged concentration such as sitting in a classroom without some form of mental and physical break.
After sitting for a while kids (as well as adults) start to get fidgety and cannot concentrate on what they should be. The mind starts to wander and the lessons being taught in the classroom become
Recess is also the time where kids can interact with their peers, learning through shared experience and building social development skills. These are lessons that can’t be taught from a book. They have to be experienced to learn from.
Another huge concern for schools these days is the physical health of their students. Recess affords kids an opportunity to run and play which helps to burn calories, build muscle and provides aerobic exercise.
With concerns over childhood obesity and related illnesses, providing a health school lunch does very little good if they aren’t allowed time to exercise. And with gym classes being cut as well, some students don’t get any physical activity at all while at school.
Schools across the country are starting to realize that eliminating recess is a poor option for them and their students. In some cases, recess is making a comeback which is good news for the overall happiness and well being of the students.