Thursday, July 14, 2016

After Years of Cuts to Playtime, Parents and Educators Are Bringing Recess Back

After Years of Cuts to Playtime, Parents and Educators Are Bringing Recess Back:

After Years of Cuts to Playtime, Parents and Educators Are Bringing Recess Back

bringing recess back

Last year in Seattle public schools, low-income kids won an equal right to play, thanks to a fierce coalition of Seattle teachers and parents who set up an unbeatable campaign to bring recess back to the school day.
Similar efforts are taking place across the U.S., as educators and parents take note of how the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)-era of high-stakes, high-stress testing altered their children’s school day, lengthening the hours that students stay in their seats and squeezing the minutes they swing across playgrounds. It’s time, they say, for the school day to return to a healthier state of play.
In recent years, mandatory-recess legislation has been introduced in at least four states, including Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Meanwhile, one Texas school has jacked up its daily allotment of recess to four times a day. Recess supporters point to the health benefits of exercise and movement, the way that physical activity supports cognitive development, plus the critical social and emotional learning that takes place when children have unstructured, free time to play.
“It’s been alarming to see the way that No Child led to less recess. Recess has cognitive, emotional, social benefits, and lots of research to support it,” says Terri Drain, a nationally board certified physical education teacher in Alameda County, Calif., and a member of the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) board of directors. “I would call it a crime, actually, to deny physical activity to kids… We’re just not designed to sit still.”
 in 2014, about two out of 10 U.S. elementary schools had no daily recess, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Generally, middle and high schools have even less.
With the passage of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its welcome focus on local- and state-designed standards, “it’s a great time to spark conversations around what a well-rounded child looks like. It’s not one who sits and takes tests all day,” says Collin Brooks, a nationally board certified physical education teacher from Bend, Ore., and the president of Oregon SHAPE. (To find out how you can get involved in those conversations in your community, visit Get ESSA Right.)

At Brooks’ school, the younger kids get three recesses a day, while the older ones get two. But not all kids are so lucky. In Florida this year, parents complained to state legislators that some schools had zero. (Their mandatory recess bill passed almost unanimously in the Florida House, but stalled in the state Senate.) Overall, in 2014, about two out of 10 U.S. elementary schools had no daily recess, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Generally, middle and high schools have even less.
Making matters worse in Seattle, where there was no district policy on recess, After Years of Cuts to Playtime, Parents and Educators Are Bringing Recess Back:

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