More schools jump on “no-recess” recess bandwagon

January 29, 2010

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.

Cartoon - lawyers still get recess.  Andertoons

Via doxpop.com. See Andertoons.com, and buy it for your newsletter.


All study for the tests and no play makes Jack and Jill perform worse on standardized tests

February 26, 2009

Newark Star-Ledger file photo of kids at recess at Newton Street School. Patti Sapone photo

Newark Star-Ledger file photo of kids at recess at Newton Street School. Patti Sapone photo

The old classroom teachers knew it.  The new, test-the-hell-out-of-the-little-brats administrators need to learn it.

Kids need physical activity to be good students.

A study published this month in the journal Pediatrics studied the links between recess and classroom behavior among about 11,000 children age 8 and 9. Those who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none. Although disadvantaged children were more likely to be denied recess, the association between better behavior and recess time held up even after researchers controlled for a number of variables, including sex, ethnicity, public or private school and class size.

The lead researcher, Dr. Romina M. Barros, a pediatrician and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the findings were important because many schools did not view recess as essential to education.

The article in the science section of the New York Times put it well:

The best way to improve children’s performance in the classroom may be to take them out of it.

A convicted murderer in prison gets an hour a day for exercise.  But our kids, the high-performing ones we depend on for our nation’s future?  We treat them worse than convicted felons?

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

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