I feel in my bones the pressure on teachers. More and more is asked of teachers these days, and heaps of pressure is placed squarely on their shoulders. My upcoming book, Why Great Teachers Quit, will address this among many other concerns facing teachers today.
But having children skip recess should not be part of the solution. I must admit I am guilty of this sometimes. This new article posted at the New York Times health blog, Well, shares information about a new study proving the importance of recess in the behavior, academic success and the health of children.
“New research suggests that play and down time may be as important to a child’s academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades.”
and an alarming number of children are not getting recess:
“And many children are not getting that break. In the Pediatrics study, 30 percent were found to have little or no daily recess. Another report, from a children’s advocacy group, found that 40 percent of schools surveyed had cut back at least one daily recess period.
Also, teachers often punish children by taking away recess privileges. That strikes Dr. Barros as illogical. ‘Recess should be part of the curriculum,’ she said. ‘You don’t punish a kid by having them miss math class, so kids shouldn’t be punished by not getting recess.'”
I’m hearing that loud and clear. When I’m tempted to use this time with a student, I’ll remember this article. All kids can benefit physically, mentally and academically (the one we can sometimes forget-) from getting outside and playing. That’s what I want for my students and my own children!
image: DSC08778 by echoforsberg on Flickr under Creative Commons