kids playing outside

Children playing / Image: SafeBee

As a child I looked forward to having recess in school.

Recess and Physical Education (P.E.) class provided a break in the school
day for me to unwind, play, and socialize with my peers. It also helped me
to stay physically fit.

Without these breaks, school just seemed to be one long study period after
another. I repeatedly stared at the clock, waiting to hear the final bell
signaling the end of the school day.

I felt grateful to have an hour of playtime in gym. Children today, however,
children are fortunate enough to have a full hour of P.E. and recess combined.
With increased exposure and emphasis on academics, their bodies and minds
are lacking precious moments of structured and spontaneous play.

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition said that to support
healthy hearts, children need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous
physical activity each day. However, some states don’t have guidelines.


Playtime shouldn’t be restricted to P.E. time

A health and wellness program at East End Elementary School in, offers children
activities before classes begin.

The program, Rise and Shine, for grades 3-5, offers activities such as healthy
cooking classes, computer coding, indoor soccer, kick ball, and hip-hop. Children
receive up to 30 extra minutes a day for the activities.

Physical Education class is held once a week, for 45 minutes. Given the growing
childhood obesity rates across the country, educator’s at the school state that the
time allotted to students is not enough.

But is more playtime too much of a good thing?

Not so.


The numbers are in

Before the program started East End Elementary School was faced with several
attendance and behavior issues. There was also a high poverty rate there. Since
the program started, upwards of 95 percent of students show up early for the
activities and behavior has improved. The school bus schedule was even changed
to accommodate students who want to participate.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE)
recommends that elementary schools should engage in at least one daily
period of children receive 20 minutes of for at least 20 minutes per period.

Recess is an integral part of a child’s well-being in that is allows children
discretionary time to engage in physical activity.

Recess also helps in these ways:

• Recess helps children develop healthy bodies and enjoyment of movement.
• Recess gives children an opportunity to practice life skills such as cooperation
and following rules
• Recess helps children sharpen their communication skills
• Recess helps children practice negotiation, problem solving, and conflict resolution.
• The physical activity allowed during recess helps children improve attention, focus, behavior, and learning in the classroom

Whether structured or unstructured playtime is allowed before, during, or after
school hours, results have shown that children’s behavior improves after
physical activity. Recess should be required for every child.

What are your thoughts?


If you liked this post, you may also like:

PE Time: Tackling the Challenge of Keeping Children Physically Active




4 Thoughts on “The Case for Added Recess

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