As a kid I know exactly why I loved Tuesdays, for it was on every Tuesday that my school had kickball during recess. Looking back now, I can’t recall ever losing a game. I also can’t recall winning one either, but I do remember it was so central to my early development in elementary school.
So to me, it is no surprise that the science is now coming out in support of recess, and with the results of these studies, I don’t doubt that the kids coming out to the playgrounds of tomorrow will surely get some more playtime than they get today.
So what exactly has been discovered from these studies of recess? Well, researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine have revealed that children with more free time during the day actually score higher on standardized testing, and the American Academy of Pediatrics earlier this year published an article entitled The Crucial Role of Recess in School, in which they say that the “[o]ptimal cognitive processing in a child necessitates a period of interruption after a period of concentrated instruction.” In short, a mere fifteen-minute break could improve both test scores and a child’s brain processing speed. What parent or teacher could be against that?
Beyond improving the children’s learning experience and giving the kids a measure of fun in the middle of a school day, recess also goes a long way towards preventing the onset of childhood obesity. Strangely (or not so strangely), a decrease in recess and breaks at school is closely proportional to the increase in cases of childhood obesity.
With the healthy foods in school crusade complete, perhaps its time we all pick up an old-fashioned banner for recess. After all, it helps the kids perform better on tests, keeps their brains at peak efficiency, keeps them healthy, and, more than anything else, keeps them happy.