Is your homework done? Not listening or distracted? Have you been fidgety during circle time? Then you lose recess. Taking away recess is an all too common punishment used in elementary schools across the country – and it has to stop.
Recess is a necessity. A child’s health, both physical and emotional, requires they break from sitting long hours at school and preferably get outdoors for a minimum of 15 minutes. Two breaks per long school day are justified. At least one should be mandatory. Recess not only keeps kids healthy, it improves their ability to learn. Studies tell us that outdoor time (and recess) help children calm their bodies and focus their minds when they return to classroom work.
Unfortunately, schools are cutting recess short. Some have eliminated recess altogether, mainly to prep kids for highly pressurized standardized tests. This is not only shortsighted it’s dangerous. Rates of ADHD have recently risen to epidemic levels in the US, as high as 20% among older boys. Many of these boys will be placed on medication. Misdiagnosis is a serious problem and some of it is made worse by not allowing enough opportunities for physical movement and/or outdoor playtime.
It’s time to speak out. Let’s demand that recess be a mandatory part of every child’s school day.
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