For thirty years, school children in Chicago have never experienced recess. Awful, isn’t it? Recess was taken out because it was considered as a waste of time. But don’t be too gloomy there, there is good news – recess is back.
Recess is referred to as a break period or a break from class or instruction. It is a time granted by schools to let children get out from their classroom, have a break from taking in information and go to the playground, run around, eat their snacks and play with their classmates and other kids.
That is wonderful, right? But how come there are schools that do not have recess? Or why is it that there were principals who got rid of this break period?
According to reports, there are administrators who look at recess as a waste of time. For them, why should kids be playing around when they are failing their math subject? Why should school children have a break when there is still so much to learn?
Studies show that school administrators do not like the idea of having recess, especially when children have low test scores. And this is quite true especially in school districts that are poor. Those school kids with parents with a lower income have nowhere to go during recess and at most, they don’t take recess.
So, for principals, what is the point of having a break period when there are kids who won’t be able to go for recess? That is why they opted to get rid of it and instead focus on having those children study more. They took recess out with the intention of improving the kids’ academic performance.
However, repeated studies have been conducted about this case – taking out recess. And it was found out that when recess is delayed, school children tend to pay lesser attention to class because they think and focus more on the days they had recess.
According to a major study done in Pediatrics, children who were given more than 15 minutes break or recess every day tend to be more behaved and attentive in the classroom compared to kids who were given a short break period or no recess at all.
The study further reported that with recess granted to school children, they seem to learn more effectively and efficiently when information is distributed over time. Giving them a break from instruction or from class allows the students to give themselves a space and a rest from taking in information, after all the brain needs a break or recess, too.
Schools with recess have been found out that their students perform well when they are given a break period. East Asian schools are said to be high-performing education institutions. They have longer school periods but much of their school time is taken up by break periods or recess for they believe their students need it.
Granting students and school children recess is something that should be considered by school administrators and principals. Learning is important but taking a break is also essential to have learning more efficient.