Recess called and she wants your child back. Please return your children!
Seriously, what has happened to recess for our children? I want to blame the “Common Core Standards” but this trend gained ground in the late 1980’s and further traction with No Child Left Behind legislation of the previous administration. I am not happy with the fact my 4th grader goes outside once a week on Fridays, if classroom behavior is good and work is done. When behavior issues arise in 4th grade classrooms, do teachers ever think this might be part of the problem? All that pent up energy has to go somewhere. I am afraid there is the strongest sense of “back against the wall “ in teachers, who must implement more curriculum than ever into our children’s budding minds, and pressure from administrators, commissioners , and a portion of jaded, cynical public that believes our country’s failures “must be stopped” by starting at our youngest level of the population.
Do not get me wrong, I am all for standards and challenging children and young adults to think creatively, critically, and independently. The Kardashian’s are not going to advance our country and make us global leaders in science, technology, or in the humanities. Yet these notions of more work, less play, less outdoor play, more standards, more state standards, more curriculum, less teacher crafted classroom time, make me want to scream!
According to what I read, the decision to have recess or not is decided by each district. There are other factors that influence school district’s recess polices that include: behavioral management concerns and safety concerns over old and ill equipped playgrounds. The study done by the USA’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that 57% of all districts and 11% of all states require recess. While little is out there, other than what seems like outward perception, to support the fact that reducing or eliminating recess makes for better test scores, better grades, and greater academic gains, research and articles support the positive effects of regular recess for children. From enabling children to better focus and providing children a chance to de-stress and get their energy out to increasing social skills and decision making skills, there are many benefit to such down time and free play. Perhaps now more than ever when our children are being asked to do so much more at an earlier age, parents need to stand up and demand the simple privilege of a regular break (it doesn’t have to be hours) for a regular break….
What was that saying? ‘All work and no play….’