How many of us feel like we need a break? How important is recess for children? What is recess? Recess is when students get some time in which they get to stop doing their usual work duties and take a break. Children receiving recess is an important topic to discuss because children’s learning abilities could be affected if they do not get a break. There are some people who see recess as a waste of time and think the children could have more academic time if recess was eliminated. There are also a lot of people, including doctors and psychologists, that feel it is vital and healthy for children to have recess while in school. There are studies that help to show that when children receive recess, their grades are better, children can focus longer, they score higher on tests, it increases children’s appetite, and they are less fidgety. Some of the people that are involved and affected by the importance of recess are students, teachers, parents, school superintendents, politicians, and doctors. My daughter has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and when she gets out for recess, she is able to come back into her class and focus much better. Just as adults need breaks, children do as well, probably even more than adults do. There are so many benefits for children who receive recess. Schools should look at all of these amazing benefits that children receive from having recess and come up with a way to work it into the school day. Is it fair for children to be forced to sit still for hours on end with no chance of truly feeling free and being able to interact with other peers? Kindergarten used to be different years ago. There were naps, arts and crafts, playing freely with classmates, time to go outside and some instructional time to learn the alphabet and numbers. Five years ago when my daughter went into kindergarten, my husband and I learned how much kindergarten has changed. My daughter’s teacher told us that children would only receive recess if they got all their work done. Most days, my daughter would come home saying that she did not receive recess, and she hated going to school.
There has been a lot of debate over recess. Many schools are trying to reduce the amount of time or even eliminate recess altogether for children during the school day. The big reason that this is happening is because school districts are trying to increase academic time and test scores. A lot of school districts feel that children are receiving enough physical exercise in gym class. Recess is not just about exercise, though; it is a break from instructional work to go out and play and socialize with peers freely. Children learn a great deal from each other. Some people say that children learn more from playing with each other than they do from the teacher. Recess improves children’s socialization skills, which is a big part of school. Would you want to be forced to sit for hours without being able to take any breaks?
Recess is an important part of children’s day at school. Studies have shown that recess is a very valuable asset for children. An article written by Katie Reilly shows many reasons why recess is good for children. The article is entitled, “Is Recess Important for Kids or a Waste of Time? Here’s What the Research Says” and was published in Time.com in 2017. According to the article, research has established that recess is necessary to improve children’s social, physical, cognitive, and emotional development. The article also addresses a study conducted in 2009, and the results showed that children eight to nine years of age that had at least one daily recess of more then fifteen minutes had better classroom behavior. There was a study conducted in 2008 that reinforced a study that was conducted in 1998 amd concluded that children fidgeted less and worked more compared to when they did not receive recess. In 2010, a report was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found positive connections between recess and academic performance. There is a significant amount of evidence that proves that physical activity can improve academic achievement, which includes standardized test scores and grades. The article that is entitled, “Is Recess Important for Kids or a Waste of Time? Here’s What the Research Says” states that a study conducted in 2016 found that when boys do not receive recess and have to sit for longer periods of time and have less time playing, they did not progress as quickly in reading and in math. It has been shown that if recess is held before lunch, it improves student’s nutrition. Students’ fruit and vegtable comsumption increased by over fifty percent.
Recess for children has so many unseen benefits. Another article that supports the claim that recess increases a child’s nutrition if they have recess prior to lunch is written by Monica Hunsberger, et al., “Elementary School Children’s Recess Schedule and Dietary Intake at Lunch: A Community-Based Participatory Research Partnership Pilot Study” published in BMC Public Health in 2014. This article discussed about how a study was done, and a certain number of children had recess before lunch and the other group did not. What this showed was that milk consumption increased. Children benefit from a milk consumption increase because they are getting the calcium intake that they need. During this study, teachers also commented that recess was successful before lunch. “The teachers stated not only was milk consumption increased with children having recess before lunch, it was also beneficial to the classroom behavior and the children’s willingness to concentrate following lunch” (Monica Hunsberger).
Another very useful article that has a number of valid points was written by Anthony D. Pellegrini, “American Journal of Play” in American Journal of Play in 2008. This article discusses reasons why people are for schools having recess. On pages 182 through 183, Pellegrini states that the longer children go without a break, the more the children’s attention to school tasks decreases. Pellegrini also states that children’s attention spans were far better after recess than before. In 2001, the Council on Physical Education for Children vetoed the idea of replacing recess with physical education. CITATION Pel08 l 1033 (Pellgrini) The reason that the Council on Physical Education for Children feels that physical education should not replace recess is because physical education is instructional and imposes rigorous demands on children which they feel does not count as a break. Pellegrini notes that recess is the only time during school that children have a chance to interact with other children on their own terms. He also claims that through recess, children learn how to compromise and cooperate, and children can learn how to inhibit aggression. He also states in this article that if recess is taken away or reduced, then it destroys the chances of children having an opportunity to learn these skills.
Another article adresses some of the reaons why children should receive recess. The article is written by Carol Chemelynski and is entitled “Is Recess Needed?” It was published in Educational Digest in December of 1998. In this article, Chemelynski states that recess is of an intangible value to children. The article describes how children need a break from daily activities and excitement in their day. The author states that recess creates growth for children, and that during recess, children can have freedom, be creative, and be more independent than they can be in the classroom. She also states that recess is important because children need less structured time to help balance out all the structured parts of the child’s day. This article also addresses adding more time to physical education classes and increasing the number of times per week that children get physical education classes. Chemelynski claims in this article that teachers see that children need time away from structured activities. This article claims that recent brain research suggests that if children are given the chance to move around a little, then they come back more able to deal with the task they were working on. The children come back more refreshed and learn much more efficiently. This article states that children are more attentive after they have received recess. The author also says that when children go out and interact with other children, they are gaining social and cognitive skills, and that they learn these skills better when a teacher is not interacting with them. The information in this article is important because it presents the importance of children receiving recess. It shows that recess has both physical and mental benefits for children. It shows how it helps with children’s social and cognitive skills. It also shows how children can learn more efficiently and are better able to focus due to recess. Chemelynski addresses some very valid reasons for the importance of recess. This article also addresses a possible solution, which is increasing the length and number of times per week that children receive physical education class.
It seems to be that children with disabilties really benefit from having recess. In the article written by Monica Campbell Miller, et al., “Effects of Friendship Circles on the Social Interactions of Elementary Age Students with Mild Disabilities” in Journal of Behavioral Education in September of 2003, the authors discuss a study that was done with children with mild disabilities and peers who had no disabilities. The results indicated that two out of three of the mildly disabled children had increased positive interactions with the non-disabled peers in friendly play at recess. Miller et al. also state in this article that the two out of the three children with mild disabilities, social interaction and cooperation throughout the day improved. This is a big deal for children with disabilities to help increase their social skills especially with other peers that do not have disabilities.
Do you think that the decrease in natural play has caused an increase in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? In the article written by Jaak Panksepp, “Play, ADHD, and the Construction of the Social Brain: Should the First Class Each Day Be Recess?” published in American Journal of Play in 2008, Panksepp suggests that the decrease in recess may contribute to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder diagnoses being on the rise. He also states in this article that free play can help with frontal lobe maturation. Jaak Panksep also states that physical play should be a part of the daily routine for children throughout grade school.
Children cannot pay attention for long periods of time. In the article written by Anthony D. Pellegrini and David F. Bjorklund, “The Role of Recess in Children’s Cognitive Performance” published in Educational Psychologist in 2003, They state that children are not able to focus for long periods of time, and their cognitive performance will be negatively affected if they continuously work on tasks that require focused attention. They also claim in this article that while Asian schools have a very intense curriculum, they provide more recesses for children in elementary school; therefore, the children can focus more attentively and obtain better grades. They further assert that children, animals, and adults learn better and more quickly when they are given breaks.
Children are naturally very active, so when it comes to the school day, it may be hard for them to sit still for hours on end without any breaks. In the article written by Olga S. Jarret et al., “Impact of Recess on Classroom Behavior: Group Effects and Individual Differences” published in The Journal of Educational Research, in 1998, the authors discuss the effects of recess on classroom behavior, working, fidgeting, and listlessness. They describe children being physically active, talking with peers, and playing freely. Research was done at a southern urban school district which had a no recess policy that granted permission for two fourth grade classes to have recess on certain days. On the days that the classes had recess, the children were more on task and less fidgety. Sixty percent of the children, some of whom had attention deficit disorder, and both boys and girls benefited from recess. (Jarret, Hoge and Davies)
Children have a lot of needs that require our attention for them to be successful. Heather Erwin talks about the positive outcomes that a school experienced from having recess two times per a day. The article “Impact of Recess on Classroom Behavior: Group Effects and Individual Differences” published in The Journal of Educational Research in 1998; states that the students at this school district were asked what their number one desire was for a change for the next year; and the results were mostly students requesting more physical activity. When the two recesses a day were implemented, teachers were amazed at the results. The recess had positive results on the students’ behavior and their performance in the classroom. The students worked much better and were far more focused. The teachers also stated that there was a major increase in student socialization. Giving children the time to play freely together allowed the students to more effectively learn each other’s names. It also helped the students interact with each other as peers and the children played better together. The article describes a series of tests conducted three times per a year, and if the students got up for an activity, even if it was only for five minutes, the students performed much better on their test scores.
When children go outside for recess, they are also gaining benefits that we may not even be thinking about them getting. In the article written by Hannah Martin, et al., “Perceptions of the Effect of Recess on Kindergartners” published in The Physical Educator in 2018, the authors address how children benefit from recess both mentally and physically. Martin, et al. believe that when children spend time outdoors, it helps to reduce their stress levels. Children being outside induces relaxation, and it also provides vitamin D for them. The authors also point out that research has linked free play outside to helping children focus better; it also helps to reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (Martin) They also note that recess reduces the risk of nearsightedness. This suggests that recess helps to produce happier healthier children.
Recess has an impact with children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This article addresses the impacts that recess has on children with attention deficit disorder. It is stated in Ridgway, Andrea, et al. “Effects of Recess on the Classroom Behavior of Children With and Without Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” published in School Psychology Quarterly in 2003 that there was a study conducted and the main purpose of the study was to evalaute the effects that recess had on classroom behavior with children who had attention deficit hyeractivity disorder. The results showed that levels of inappropriate behavior were higher on the days when the children did not have recess, the study also showed that the level of inappropriate behavior for all of the children increased over time on days when the children did not have recess, the increase of inappropriate behavior did not occur on days when the children had recess. It is suggested in this article that recess does not harm children’s academic achievement and actually may be beneficial for children’s development of language and literacy skills possibly because children become less attentive after long periods of instruction and that there is a large amount of evidence to support this (Andrea Ridgway).
Recess may not always go as planned but with effort and time the issues can be addressed and fixed so that children can gain all the amazing benefits that recess has to offer them. There is an article that shows this example quite well, Eric A., Clayton “Play Well, Learn Better” it was published in District Administration. on Sept. 2010. It is stated that a school district in Stockton was having issues during recess with violence, gangs, and bullying so they wanted to fix these issues that they were having during recess. The reason that the school wanted to fix the issues that they were having during recess was because they wanted to give teachers more time to teach and what the article means by this is that if the children are focused and engaged during recess teachers will not be trying to solve the children’s problems or try to get and or keep the children’s attention. It states in the article that when children are engaged in recess they come in and are prepared to learn. The Stockton school district felt that recess is such a valuable resource to children that they came up with a solution to try and resolve the violence during recess. The solution was to join forces with a nonprofit organization called Playworks. Playwork’s goal is to “improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.” Playworks teaches children how to resolve their problems without being aggressive. The impact went of this program also impacted the adults at The Stockton school district. The staff now feels better about going to work, they have become role models for the children, and the teachers now also join in on the recess fun. The children in the Stockton school district are more engaged now and use problem solving skills instead of fighting. It is stated that the skills that the children are learning with carry on with them throughout their lives.
Some people might oppose my position by arguing that recess is just a waste of time. There is a lot of debate over this issue, and it has been causing a lot of controversy. In an article written by Barbara Pytel, “Pros and Cons of Recess Time in Schools” published in Pros and Cons of Recess Time in Schools on 20 December. 2009, she discusses some of the reasons why schools want to cut recess. Raising test scores is a big reason why schools want to eliminate or reduce recess. She expresses that schools are seeing that if recess was eliminated, that time could be used with more instructional time with students. Legal liability is another reason people want to get rid of recess. Schools do not want to be held liable for a student getting hurt. School cutbacks are another reason. There is not enough staff due to the cutbacks to provide proper supervision during recess. Another concern for cutting recess is the public being able to access the playground at some schools, which could put children in danger of being abducted, walking off, or having a sexual predator or violent predator accessing the playground. Bullying is another reason given for recess being reduced or eliminated. The points that people have for reducing or eliminating recees are valid. Although the research suggests that having recess is so important and beneficial for children to have and there could be ways to solve the problems that are addressed with the people who are opposed to children having recess.
There has been a lot of research conducted on this topic, and parents, teachers, students, politicians, doctors, and school administrators all have their beliefs about why or why not children should or should not have recess. While the people who believe recess should be eliminated have some fair points recess offers so much to children. The evidence and research, shows that recess has so many valuable benefits for children that could carry on with them through out their lives that it is important to keep it in the school day. Children really do need breaks from instructional work in the day. Children are naturally active, so to ask them to sit for hours on end five out of seven days of the week without any breaks is going to be extremely difficult for children. While working on school work, I need breaks myself and I am an adult. Recess also offers more then just a break. Recess offers congitive, social, and emotional values. A huge factor for me as to how important it is to have recss is how much it can help children with disabilites, since my child has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder having recess is really helpful for her. When she comes home from school on days that she has had recess, she is much calmer, she can remember what she learned, she is less fidgetey and her behavior overall is much better. Recess also contributes to children eating better at lunch. As you can see from the “Play Well, Learn Better” article recess not only had a positive effect on the students it also had a positive influence on the staff at the schools as well. Recess is so valuable that the factors people wanting to eliminate recess while they are important do not outweigh all of the amazing benefits that children gain from receiving recess during the school day.The claims that people are making to eliminate recess during the school day there are possible solutions that could resolve some of these problems.