Are you in the “more recess in schools” camp? As a teacher and a parent, I know both sides.
My son is so active. He’s 15 months old. He is the child every week at story time that spends the entire 30 minutes running around with his head bobbing up and down. All of the other parents laugh and tell me how cute he is while their child is sitting in their lap, quietly dancing along to the music in the background.
Today, at one of my moms’ groups, we were asked about our passions. Being a mom and a (former) teacher, my answer is easy: child development and education. I watch my only child climb the furniture and run constantly. If I fast forward a few years to kindergarten, will I have something to worry about? Is he going to be that child that ends up in the principal’s office for misbehaving because he’s so desperate for recess?
Teachers have it hard. Most teachers would kill for more recess, but their hands are tied. Teachers need to follow school and district procedures and are always being pressured to up the testing scores from previous years.
I understand; the process is convoluted. The administration, for its own reasons and a topic of its own, pushes the teachers to push the students to work harder and play less. My question is: is it working? Are test scores improving? As a teacher, I taught my students to back up their thinking with evidence. In the same way, do we, as a country, have any evidence to back up our thinking? Do we have any reason to believe that limiting recess is developing our children intellectually? Is limiting recess decreasing trips to the office and increasing test scores?
A few months ago, I read a story online. The link can be found below. Basically, some schools in Texas are trying out a program, giving kids in kindergarten and first grade more recess. The teachers are finding that children do better academically when they are given more recess throughout the day. Not only are kids performing better when their brains have had a chance to shut off for a while, but also behaving better when they can run around and play like children.
I’m currently in the process of taking courses to keep my teaching certificate current. As a stay-at-home-mom, I want to keep the option of teaching on the table. I just took a course on retention and how some students are retained for behavioral issues. I think this could have everything to do with recess. Schools that have added more recesses to schools have seen a decrease in chewed pencils and an increase in learning. Maybe, if we all jumped on board, we would see a decrease in retention and an increase in graduating from highschool with more brain breaks. How many breaks do you take during the day to keep your productivity up?
I see the beginnings of a recess revolution. I just hope it comes in time for Brandon to enter the public school system. In the meantime, I’ll keep voicing my opinions and gather up my evidence for any future trips I might need to make to the principal’s office.
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