The report “A Research-Based Case for Recess” by Olga S.Jarrett of Georgia State University, published by the the U.S. Play Coalition, reveals the importance of recess for children.
It cites that the majority of the top-ranking countries in international tests have schools that provide frequent play breaks. For example, English primary children have breaks in the morning and in the afternoon. They also have a long lunch break. Children in Japan receive 10-20 minute breaks between 45-minute lessons. In Finland, schools offer 15 minutes to play after each 45 minutes of work.
Research done on attention suggests that breaks are an essential part of learning. The brain cannot maintain attention for long periods of time. Down time is necessary for information to be processed.
Jason Smith, Co-Founder of Click-A-Brick, lauds the report. “For many children, recess is their favorite time of the day,” Smith said. “Well, there’s a reason for that. Recess is when children can organize their own games, use playground equipment, run and chase each other, get involved in clapping games or jump rope rhymes or socialize with their friends. Recess is a time when children have more freedom to choose what they want to do and with whom. That’s part of the reasoning behind our toy lines. We want children to explore what they can create. They can’t do that without the opportunity to play.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. This time should be free and unstructured, offering children multiple cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits. Growing evidence links recess to improved physical health, social skills and cognitive development. Research indicates children perform better on literacy tasks after they have had recess and that children raise their hands more often after recess breaks.
Georg de Gorostiza, Co-Founder of Click-A-Brick, hails the research cited in the report. “The playground is a fundamental component of development and social interaction,” de Gorostiza said. “Children learn respect for rules, self discipline, and control of aggression. They can develop problem solving and planning strategies and practice leadership.”
The Alliance for Childhood, the U.S. Play Coalition, and the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play (IPAUSA) are strong supporters of recess. “We should all be concerned about recess,” de Gorostiza said. “Given all of the evidence that recess meets so many physical, social, emotional, and academic needs, it’s something worth up.
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