What benefit does recess serve?

by Natalie Neville

Imagine that you are 10 and you have been sitting in your school classroom. You have been sitting here for the last two and half hours. You’re watching the clock, tick tock, and it is almost time for recess! Little did you know that your teacher has other plans for you? “Can you stay inside during recess and help me please?” Ugh, there goes your time to run out your wiggles and stretch your body.

Is there really a benefit to recess? Yes there is. So why has there been an influx in limiting recess time? Schools are stating that they want to focus more on academics and not so much on recess. Pathwaystofamilywellness.org stated that “research dating back to the late 1800s indicates that people learn better and faster when their efforts are distributed, rather than concentrated.”

1. Recess also allows the child to focus better. If you were sitting at a desk all day with no breaks, you would go stir crazy. Imagine being a child with extra energy and no way to get it out. A study out of Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas gave children four 15-minute recess breaks through-out the school day. After five months, students were less fidgety and they were able to pay better attention. Students “listen more attentively, follow directions and try to solve problems on their own instead of coming to the teacher to fix everything. There are fewer discipline issues.”

2. Recess allow kids to make new

friends. Think back to where you met some of your life-long friends. Was it in the classroom or was it outside during recess? Most friends were made from a different class or grade.

3. Recess allows a child to get some physical activity. These days with electronics taking over the world, many kids are not getting any physical activity. Recess ensures that children are getting some physical activity in their day even if they go home and their face is on an electronic. Physical activity can improve your health as well as help reduce serious health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

4. Recess allows for creative thinking and imagination. Children are able to use their imagination during play. They are able to escape the struggles of the classroom and create any world they choose. “The primary goals of childhood are to grow, learn, and play. It is often through play that children learn to make sense of the world around them. It is a child’s "job" or "occupation" to play to develop physical coordination, emotional maturity, social skills to interact with other children, and self-confidence to try new experiences and explore new environments.”

Pica, R. (n.d.). Why Kids Need Recess. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://pathwaystofamilywellness.org/Children-s-Health-Wellness/why-kids-need-recess.html

Here's what happened when a school tried recess four times a day. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2016, from http://www.today.com/parents/want-kids-listen-more-fidget-less-try-more-recess-school-t65536

Physical activity - it's important. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2016, from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/physical-activity-its-important

Learning through play. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2016, from http://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy/patients-clients/childrenandyouth/play.aspx

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