Recess is Needed!

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The first memory of elementary school is usually not a person, what a teacher is like, or the lessons that were learned each day. Most memories are probably of recess and the playground: cooite chases, kickball, tag and the good ole monkey bars. Unfortunately, for today’s generation of students, the likelihood of not having recess is becoming more and more prominent in public schools. In A 1989 survey of state superintendents conducted by the National Association of Elementary School Principals, they found that ninety percent of schools in the different school districts had at least one recess period during the day. However, according to the American Association for the Child\'s Right to Play, many school systems have abolished recess since 1989. One reason that recess should be mandated in the elementary school is because the break that recess provides allows the students to keep their attention; they are not worn out by the instruction in the classroom. Another reason that recess should be policy in grade school is because the activities involved in recess can help the children have a higher self-esteem and self-awareness. The next reason that schools should make recess mandatory is that the time recess provides allows the students to socialize with their peers in an uninstructed setting. The final reason that recess should not be prohibited by any school would be that the physical activity that recess provides benefits the heath of all the students involved.

Over the past couple of decades, recess is slowly becoming prohibited in elementary schools. Many schools eliminate playgrounds and the idea of socialization amount the students all together. Professor Melinda Bossenmeyer cites some reasons for the elimination in her article “Eliminate Recess! Let’s skip it!” She states that” reasons such as liability concerns, supervision hardships, and the pressure to increase academic achievement” are what provoke educators to do away with recess. School and government officials believe it is more important to test students that allow them to be children, to play, pretend and practice in becoming socialized adults. Past generations look back on memories of recess rather than those of what happened in second grade. For the next generations, the lack of recess could be harmful to their development, rather than beneficial in the asset of enhancing their academic performance.

One reason that recess should be mandated in elementary school is because of the break that recess provides. This break allows students to keep their attention after being worn out by the instruction in the classroom. When interviewing my neighbor Kathy, who has two kids in private school, I found out her beliefs on recess,

“My children are six and seven. I do agree that children need more play time. My children go to a high academic private school in Columbus, but they do get three recesses per day (one is during lunch), plus P.E, P.E. is three days a week for the younger grades. They are just short recess’s (I believe 15 minutes), but I think it helps, I can tell at home when I am working with them that after a while, its pretty much a waster of time to keep pushing them to do their homework if we don’t stop and play for a while. I imagine it would be the same at school, and much less productive to just work, work, work.”

This shows that not only do experts believe that a break is necessary but a local citizen that has two kids in schools does as well. An article in the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s journal, titled “The Value of School Recess and Outdoor Play,” illustrates an effect of what recess allows students to do. It states, “Physical activity improves children’s attentiveness and decreases restlessness” This author claims that by allowing the students to stay active during the day, they will develop a better awareness, become more awake and attentive. By permitting students to have a break after a math lesson would help them recall information better than making them sit there and listen to a long flow of information that never ends. The break would allow excess energy to be released and more concentration put on the subject. Author Susan Ohanian agrees