Saturday, January 9, 2016


With all the emphasis on using “instructional time” it seems we might be cutting off our nose to spite our face. According to continuing research, recess might be just the spark to improve learning. Here’s an excellent article that all school decision makers should be required to read. (I think parents should also read this because they might be able to join us in promoting the return of recess!)

Kinesiologist Debbie Rhea noticed that students in Finland (where students score consistently high on international rankings) had multiple recesses during the day. She’s working with several schools to implement more recess and the teachers are reporting many positive changes in their students. “They say kids are less distracted, they make more eye contact, and they tattle less.”

Pediatrician Bob Murray at Ohio State University has compiled similar research. As school districts take away recess, Murray’s research is showing that “kids with regular recess behave better, are physically healthier, and exhibit stronger social and emotional development.”

Don’t you know that every decision maker who is “taking away recess” loved it when they were a kid? Don’t you know every classroom teacher would agree that children are more attentive and well-behaved when you let them run around on the playground for 15 minutes?  Don't you know that the more time children spend in front of a screen they need to balance it with physical activity and human interaction?

Rhea says, "We keep thinking as adults that we need to control the way they do things. I wish we'd get out of that. They know how to play, they know how to structure their own play — they need that time to grow responsibly… our kids are better off if we just let them be kids!”