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The Importance of Mid-Day Recess

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Many elementary schools across the country have either drastically reduced the amount of time that the students are allowed to play at recess time or they have done away with recess altogether. These schools are looking at the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which requires that students are tested on certain subjects during certain grades. Because of NCLB, the school districts have developed stricter curriculum guidelines that teachers are required to follow.

The guidelines, in many districts, instruct that teachers cover specific material at a certain time during the grade year. And in many cases, because there is such a large quantity of material to cover, districts have decided that it is best to reduce or eliminate recess.

Quite a lot of experts have argued that changing the amount of recess time allotted to children is the wrong approach—and that taking away recess is detrimental to both the students’ education and health. These experts say that it is essential for younger children to have a recess break during the day to get away from the closely controlled atmosphere of the classroom. Playing with peers is a stress-reliever for children, and it is completely necessary.

Schools that eliminate recess are really doing a disservice to their students. Keeping younger kids in a classroom all day with no break time for play does not help children learn more. In fact, after a certain amount of time without a break, children begin to lose focus and have trouble concentrating on what is being taught. On the other hand, students who are allowed a recess break come back to the classroom after break refreshed and ready to learn again.

If your children attend a school with restricted recess—or, if they go to a school without a recess break—perhaps you should consider approaching the school district about the importance of a recess break for young children.

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