Sunday, October 6, 2013

Why have recess?

Many schools are cutting recess in favor of more classroom time; Summers-Knoll places a high value on all children going outside every day.  There are structured activity such as PE or a science walk at County Farm Park, but this does not replace recess.  If you have ever questioned the wisdom of this, you might want to read the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (for the complete article click here):
In their role as child health experts, the pediatricians of the AAP stress the following perspective to parents, teachers, school administrators, and policy makers:
  1. 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.
  2. Cognitive processing and academic performance depend on regular breaks from concentrated classroom work. This applies equally to adolescents and to younger children. To be effective, the frequency and duration of breaks should be sufficient to allow the student to mentally decompress.
  3. Recess is a complement to, but not a replacement for, physical education. Physical education is an academic discipline. Whereas both have the potential to promote activity and a healthy lifestyle, only recess (particularly unstructured recess) provides the creative, social, and emotional benefits of play.
  4. Recess can serve as a counterbalance to sedentary time and contribute to the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day, a standard strongly supported by AAP policy as a means to lessen risk of overweight.
  5. Whether structured or unstructured, recess should be safe and well supervised. Although schools should ban games and activities that are unsafe, they should not discontinue recess altogether just because of concerns connected with child safety. Environmental conditions, well-maintained playground equipment, and well-trained supervisors are the critical components of safe recess.
  6. Peer interactions during recess are a unique complement to the classroom. The lifelong skills acquired for communication, negotiation, cooperation, sharing, problem solving, and coping are not only foundations for healthy development but also fundamental measures of the school experience.
    The other day I took photos of some of the activities on the playground:
    Constructing a teeter totter
    creativity and team work

    Gaga ball
    vigorous activity

    Jungle gym
    physical dexterity and coordination

    Fort building
    cooperation and engineering

    communication and creativity

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