Don’t take recess time away

PLAY: action, motion or activity, especially when free, rapid or light.

Remember the elation of getting outside into fresh air and the freedom to move without classroom restriction.

RECESS: a temporary withdrawal from or halting of work or business as at school.

Adults call this a coffee break, children call it a chance to be outside, away from structure and to be allowed to the freedom of play. Many adults have lost this desire or ability to find their inner child.

Because of today’s technology and parental fear of society’s predators, many of our students do not have the freedom of outside playtime at home. Our society has the highest rate of obesity and overweight children our nation has ever seen because of this and other factors. The current generation will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Many of our problems with students at recess are due to the fact they don’t have enough experience in playing with others.

Children learn social skills from the experience of playing with others in an unstructured situation like recess. Making students sit for long periods of time in a classroom is counter to our goals of making them prepared to be an integral part of our community and society. How can they learn to “play” well with others if not given the opportunity to learn? Recess should be unstructured play with guidelines.

At Anson we are working on a wonderful pilot program. It is still in its first year so it is difficult to present hard data to prove it is working, but look beyond the black and white. Students and teachers are happier and very productive. Extending a specials time with students to 45 minutes will not be as productive as sending students to a special more often for 30 minutes as we are doing at Anson.

I don’t have a PhD or even a Master’s degree, but I do have 40 years of teaching experience and a multitude of common sense. We are dealing with students K-6, ages 4-12. They are not “young adults” they are children and children are required to get up and move. They deserve the right to their free, out of the classroom, work on social skills time. Don’t take recess away and give it back to those who still need it.