Should Schools Get Rid of Recess?

Health & Wellness on 06.15.11

 

Do you remember the days when missing recess was the worst punishment you could imagine? The Huffington Post reports that more and more kids are facing school without the midday break -- but not because of behavior problems.

The American Association for the Child's Right to Play says that nearly 40 percent of the country's elementary schools have done away with recess entirely, claiming a "need to focus on academics" -- because nothing helps energetic kids focus on schoolwork like making them sit at a desk all day, right?

Blogger Rae Pica lays out seven reasons why recess is critical to a successful academic program, including the benefits (for kids and adults) of taking breaks, studies that show kids were "less fidgety" when they had recess, and the chemical changes that boost brainpower when kids are exposed to natural light and participate in physical activity.

Recess also reduces stress, says Pica, and helps kids develop skills they'll need long after their days of playing tag are over:

 

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 and which offers more preparation for adulthood than does memorizing the state capitals. 

 

 

How important is recess to your kids?

 

More from The Huffington Post.

 

Photo: Tauhidah abdul/Creative Commons 

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