We are losing a lot in terms of kids’ innovativeness and creativity. Frankly, I am worried about the next generation. Olga Jarrett, professor and recess advocate, Georgia State University
While there has been some good news on the recess front, every single public school needs to offer several recess breaks each day to children. How many children are still denied recess?
I know of schools that removed playground equipment. The school near where I used to live was built without a playground. Have those schools suddenly added swing sets and slides? Does every public elementary school now include recess breaks during the school day? Middle schools should have recess too.
Isn’t this an issue that should be addressed in the Elementary and Secondary Achievement Act (ESEA) reauthorization?
Here is a state rundown. See where your state stands on recess. If it isn’t seen as important at the state level, the local school districts won’t be inclined to touch it. They will be too busy focusing on repetitive testing and practice testing and concerned they won’t measure up on the test.
Recess should be addressed in the ESEA reauthorization!
If you think testing and test prep and all the things tied to getting students to raise test scores are going to go away with the ESEA reauthorization, as it stands, you are mistaken. Most state governors are on the privatization bandwagon and want testing. Even if a school is adding recess today, no one can be sure a new principal or superintendent will take it away again.
Yet, providing children recess—some time to take a break and “get rid of the wiggles”–is critical to a child’s welfare. It must be mandated.
It is abusive if children are denied recess.
This past week we were horrified to see a dog with duct tape around its muzzle. The picture went viral on the Internet. I want to believe the woman wasn’t thinking—didn’t realize what a terrible thing she was doing. But no matter, it looks like she is in hot water for her despicable act.
Compare this to denying recess to a young child. This country is not unintentionally denying children recess. Everyone knows its importance! No school should deny any child recess! Every child deserves to get breaks from sitting at their desks and working on school work.
In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that no child should be denied recess due to academic work or as punishment. Doctors have told everyone that a child who sits all day is more prone to health problems, like obesity and heart trouble.
Think how many children have hyperactivity and/or behavioral issues because they can’t blow off steam! How many take Ritalin or Adderall because they can’t sit still? And yet there are still schools which deny recess. Or they call it P.E. or let children stand and stretch. Sorry. That is not recess!
That this still remains an issue is astounding!
The ESEA reauthorization could help here by making it a federal rule that students in elementary, and even middle school, be given several recess breaks a day. It is time to insist that every public school in America provide recess!
If states and local school districts don’t comply…sorry no grant money! No recess, no money. That’s what resonates with today’s school leaders.
Put recess into the ESEA reauthorization. It’s that important!
Romina Sparano says
What’s next? Will we need an act to allow children to breathe? This race of life towards the finish line makes no sense! My child, who is sweet and brilliant, is losing her joy at school pressured into thinking about college in 6th grade! I’m an educator and I’m thinking of homrschooling, but what about her peers? It does not take Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget or Jerome Bruner to see that kids need to play. But if you need reassurance, go read them. Constant drilling, assessments, scoring, and competition (for rewards and for money) is not what the next generation of responsible, compassionate, and creative American and World citizens needs!
Nancy Bailey says
Sixth grade? Romina, I know of some charters sending children on campus visits in kindergarten! But I agree with everything you say here. Thank you for commenting, I hope your child can learn to shrug-it-off, because it doesn’t look like it is going to change anytime soon. I think she is lucky her mom sees so clearly what’s happening.
I’m seeing elementary school children in South Carolina getting 5 minutes or less for recess.
Thank you very much for this article! I am writing a paper currently on the importance of recess and how that connects to actually greater success in our schools.
Nancy Bailey says
It’s a bit dated, but thank you, Isabel.