I’ve always been a big contender for allowing kids to be kids as long as possible.
The problem is, kids can only truly remain kids for the first 3-4 years of life and after that, school becomes a necessity along with other life responsibilities.
While I believe education is imperative, I also think down time and play time (and lots of it) is too.
And finally, states are starting to agree. Many States Are Passing Bills To Make Recess In Schools Longer and Here’s What Happened…
Many States Are Passing Bills To Make Recess In Schools Longer and Here’s What Happened…
The New York Times recently reported that four years ago, Lucy Dathan, a mom, moved to New Canaan, Conneticut, where she enrolled her three children in public elementary school.
She quickly noticed a change in her child’s behavior and mood after attending school due to the fact they were only allowed one 20-minute recess per day.
They found it difficult to focus on homework. They were restless and sometimes cranky after school, which she attributed to pent-up energy. With so little time for schoolyard play, she worried they were losing the ability to navigate personal relationships.
“It was hard for them to adjust to only one recess,” she said in an interview.
So, Ms. Dathan, who was elected to the Connecticut legislature in November, agreed to support a state bill that would require schools to provide at least 50 minutes of daily undirected play for students enrolled in preschool through fifth grade.
And guess what happened?
Not one parent questioned why she was doing this.
“I think playtime fosters the creativity that we need to solve crazy world problems, like global warming, or other issues we need to face as a planet.”
And she’s not wrong. In fact, last April, Arizona legislators passed a law mandating that schools provide two daily recesses for the state’s elementary school students. Arkansas has just recently filed a law to do the same.
Teachers have already seen encouraging results, reporting fewer disciplinary actions, enhanced test scores and improvement in children’s overall health.
And when you think about it, it makes sense.
Kids need down time. They need time to be creative, to let their brain process information they are learning, receive exercise and have time to build relationships with friends through play.
Even The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children participate in 60 minutes of “moderate to vigorous activity per day,” and believe recess should be a part of it.
“Recess is a necessary break in the day for optimizing a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.” “In essence, recess should be considered a child’s personal time, and it should not be withheld for academic or punitive reasons.” -American Academy of Pediatrics.
Here’s the thing – our country is already behind in this. Finland for example, allows 15 minutes breaks for every 1 hour of in class instruction. That means, kids on average, get 1.75 hours per day of play for a typical 7 hour school day.
Compared to my son’s elementary school that receives about 35 minutes total for the day, that is a huge difference.
As parents, we have to speak up to our local state legislators and express our concerns and stand up for change in our public schools. In the end, the overall healthy and sanity of our children, is so important and is something we have to continually pay close attention to.
What do you think? Should all states increase recess time?