How often have you heard children answer “recess,” when asked the following question: What is the best part of your day at school?
Who can blame them? EarlyStories wouldn’t mind running and jumping around outdoors in the middle of the day if given the opportunity. What’s interesting about the concept of recess, however, is the new life and attention it is getting from the media and from bloggers, including my excellent colleagues over at Early Ed Watch and Birth to Thrive.
The discussion started anew last month after the New York Times ran a piece about how much sense it might make to reschedule recess for before, instead of after lunch. Writer Tara Parker-Pope last year in a column looked at new research findings that children who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none.
This week, Paul Nyhan noted on his blog that some 30 percent of students in a study published in the journal Pediatrics have little or no recess at all.
At a press conference this week at Scholastic headquarters, Beth Prince, a kindergarten teacher in Washington, D.C., said that many of her students show up at kindergarten unable to focus in class because they’ve spent too much time in front of television, computer and video game screens. Prince noted that while she can’t control the technology they are exposed to at home, her preferred solution is more outdoor time. “These kids need to run around,” she said.