More schools jump on “no-recess” recess bandwagon


How long will the madness persist?

Via Lenore Skenazy at Free-Range Kids comes word that MommaLou has a meeting to find out why her kid’s school wants the kids to spend recess time engaged in something other than recess.

Excuse me?

They aim to “change the perception of recess from free time away from learning to a valuable learning experience that will teach them and will help them cope in all social settings and environments. When children view recess as “free time” they have a tendency to act in a less responsible manner and push the limits of irresponsible behavior. In order to change the perception of recess, children must see that its content is respected and valued.”

The absolute best memories I have of my childhood consisted of me and my sister on the loose in our backyard making mud pies and playing “lost kids”. When I was in college studying early childhood education, I spent countless hours in classrooms learning about how kids learn. Kids learn through play. They just need the resources. The tools. And time.

Well, yeah, that’s what recess is all about, isn’t it?

Kids need recess to stay healthy, the studies show. Recess keeps them healthy.  In my corporate consulting, we counseled managers to provide recess.  Creativity and corporate problem solving experts, like Dr. Perry W. Buffington, recommend business people take a recess and get away from work for a while when things get tense, or when problem solvers get dense.  In one session I watched with Buffington, one manager didn’t get it and kept coming up with all sorts of things to do to avoid taking a recess.  Buffington finally spelled it out for him:  Get away from the office; make sure that the activity is AWAY from the building . . .

Heck, do they have an “organizational health” survey at that school?  The teachers need recess for the kids, too.

Recall these resources from my earlier post:

Nota bene: Even just a little movement worksIt works for adults, too.

Resources:

  • PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 2 February 2009, pp. 431-436 (doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2825) (subscription required for full text),  “School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior,” Romina M. Barros, MD, Ellen J. Silver, PhD and Ruth E. K. Stein, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and Rose F. Kennedy Center, Bronx, New York

    OBJECTIVES. This study examines the amount of recess that children 8 to 9 years of age receive in the United States and compares the group classroom behavior of children receiving daily recess with that of children not receiving daily recess.

  • See this year-old post at The Elementary Educator
  • Post in agreement from the venerable Trust for Public Lands, one of the best and best respected non-profits in America

Also, be sure to see this post from Ms. Cornelius at A Shrewdness of Apes.  If you’re having difficulty telling the difference between school and a prison — or if your school kid is having that difficulty, it’s time to act.

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3 Responses to More schools jump on “no-recess” recess bandwagon

  1. […] highest on tests of reading, math and science. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)More schools jump on “no-recess” recess bandwagonChalk, Cones and MiraclesTrends in […]

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  2. […] More schools jump on “no-recess” recess bandwagon – Gee, kids see recess as “free time” and push limits of irresponsible behavior … and we’re going to solve this by trying to impose something that makes it a “valuable learning experience.” Um … yeah, tell me how trying to cork that bottle works for you long about 1:30 pm or so … […]

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  3. Kathryn says:

    UGGGHHH, trust “education” administrators to spout a bunch of gobbledegook like “from free time away from learning to a valuable learning experience that will teach them and will help them cope in all social settings and environments”. Running around the playground with your buddies IS coping in another social setting. A lot of learning goes on on the playground — just not the kind of learning you can grade on an assessment exam. Kids need time during the day to get away from structure. I’m starting to believe that this whole no recess business comes out of administrators who do not want to be bothered monitoring sometimes rowdy kids letting off steam — and you might have to go outside. Perhaps there is lawsuit phobia — somebody might fall off something, get hit with a ball, fall down. I feel so sorry for kids these days. For them there is just no getting away from pain in the neck grownups and their “valuable learning experiences”.

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