Recess: it’s not just for little kids

As we grow from kids to adults, we are generally encouraged to learn autonomy and creativity.

Why then, when students leave elementary school, does our school system take away a core part of our day, a part that not only builds friendships and independence, but also cultivates our love for learning and experience?

Recess is an essential part of the day in the life of a 12 year old child. That being said, everyone, no matter the age, should get the opportunity to spend time outside every day during which we have no responsibilities, so that we are free to exercise and socialize in an environment with limited stress.

With our current school system, there exist opportunities for time outside—after-school sports or outing clubs, for example. However, these opportunities are open only to those who do not have after-school responsibilities. Additionally, these after school activities cut into homework time.

Providing an hour during the school day in which students could spend time freely outside would create positive associations with school for students. In elementary school, recess was almost everyone’s favorite time of day, and looking forward to recess made it possible to concentrate through the hour of math or writing that came next.

Recess should not be something taken away from students. In elementary school, recess was taken away when students misbehaved or struggled academically. For too many students, losing recess was an everyday occurrence.

Because recess is where many friendships form, and class time is often dedicated to listening rather than talking, taking away recess limits the social interaction of students.

The social aspect of recesss equips kids with critical social and life skills. Additionally, the ablity to interact with peers complements team work in classroom environments.

Students are able to develop independence when they are free to make decisions, not when there is strict regulation as is seen as students move up in grades.

By allowing for more freedom through recess,  students would be able to take initiative and develop the autonomy we will need later in life.

Studies also show that regular exercise stimulates both concentration and memory.

We must shift our thinking so that we consider recess not as time taken away from learning, but rather as time spent enhancing the education of all our students.