A major study published this month in the journal Pediatrics explored the links between recess and classroom behavior among some 11,000 eight- and nine-year-old children. It found that students who had more than 15 minutes of recess per day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none. Lead researcher Dr. Romina Barros said the findings are important, because many schools do not view recess as essential to education.
The study also confirmed previous findings that schools are cutting back on recess, despite all the research showing its benefits. School administrators justify the cuts by citing potential lawsuits from playground injuries, a shortage of qualified playground supervisors, and the pressure to spend more time on academics to improve performance. Aside from its obvious benefits for physical health, regular recess results in better behavior in class, better attention span, better academic performance, and better social skills.
In addition to cutting back on recess, many schools allow teachers to take away a student's recess privileges as punishment. To those who believe recess should be part of the curriculum, taking away recess makes no more sense as punishment than making a child miss math class.
Has your child's school eliminated or cut recess? How do you and your child feel about that?