Saving School Recess
Put simply we believe that all children have a right to recess.
Experts agree that playtime can be just as vital as classroom time to a child’s social, emotional and educational development.
Despite mounting evidence that kids need an outlet to blow off steam, learn to interact with others and get the exercise they need, nearly 40 percent of American elementary schools have either eliminated or are considering eliminating recess.
Due to school budget cuts and an increased focus on academic standards, millions of American schoolchildren may miss out on unstructured play with their peers including hopscotch, tag, kickball or jump rope.
Recess also functions successfully as an established school-based activity and should be carefully considered as part of any school health and wellness policy.
A survey conducted by the PTA showed that nine out of 10 teachers say recess and the free time spent with peers is an important part of the school day and is crucial to a child’s social and emotional development.
Studies have shown that kids who are given the opportunity to take a break from their hectic academic schedules actually develop and perform better than those who go without. Peaceful Playgrounds is a great resource for parents, educators and school administrators. – Darell Hammond, CEO, KaBOOM! – Huffington Post
Free Campaign Toolbox Package
You can have the Peaceful Playgrounds Right to Recess Campaign Toolbox sent directly to your email box. The campaign toolbox contains a full PowerPoint presentation and speakers notes along with all research and documents to support daily, unstructured physical activity during school hours.
Let your community know that children have a Right to Recess!
Every decade or so educators stumble upon a really bad idea. The elimination of recess is one such current example.
After hearing about coach potatoes, sedentary kids, youth obesity, video game – playing zombies for the last ten years – take away recess? It simply doesn’t make any sense.
If your school is showing any of these trends, take note – children need to jump, play, laugh, throw balls, and enjoy themselves outdoors. And if your child is showing low grades and signs of restlessness, new studies show daily fitness equals better report cards and more-focused children.
It is a widely held view that unstructured physical play is a developmentally appropriate outlet for reducing stress in children’s lives, and research shows that physical activity improves children’s attentiveness and decreases restlessness.
Talk to your school, district, or state education office to get P.E. and recess back into your school. Here are some resources to get you going.
Recommendations on Right to Recess Campaign
How to get recess back
What you need to know to fight for your child’s right to play midday.
1. Get informed. Arm yourself with plenty of research about the importance of play to kids’ development. You’ll find great resources at Peaceful Playgrounds, an advocacy group whose Right to Recess Campaign includes downloadable PowerPoint presentations and studies to support the argument. You can also connect with your state’s “recess advocate,” who can help
Reasons for Recess:
• Kids need to move so that they can better focus when they return to class.
• Kids need to be physically active. Research indicates that most kids don’t get enough daily exercise.
• When students sit outside against a wall for example, frequently misbehavior ensues.
• Kids who lose recess all together are frequent offenders.
I loved this list of Discipline Alternatives to Withholding Recess from the Peaceful Playgrounds Right to Recess Campaign.
Recess Petition (Sample online petition)
We, the undersigned, current and future parents and caregivers of students in the Lee County School System, taxpayers and residents of Lee County, petition the Lee County Board of Education to adopt into the Lee County School curriculum a scheduled time for all students in kindergarten and grades one through eight to have daily recess periods 5 days per week for ≥20 minutes, as recommended by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of supervised, unstructured activity time, preferably outdoors.
Alternatives to Withholding Recess
Given the value of recess in a student’s physical and social development, and the need for periodic breaks from classroom instruction, using recess as punishment is inappropriate.
Consider our popular list of 60 alternatives to withholding recess.
CPS Guide to Developing A School Recess Plan – This guide provides a step-by-step process that school communities can use to consider and create recess options for their students.