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Ask elementary students what their favorite part of school is and the majority will say its "recess." That is one of the reasons why AAHPERD's Let's Move in School initiative is committed to increasing recess in all schools across the country. Not only is it great as a physical activity break but it also helps with social interactions, as an outlet for stress and actually improves concentration when it is time to return to the classroom.
The importance of recess for all elementary school students - NASPE Position Statement
10 ways a PTA/PTO can support recess in school - Find it here!
Safe play guidelines
Each year, approximately 200,000 children are treated in hospital Emergency Rooms for playground-related injuries (Durani, 2011). Avoid injuries caused by unstructured play by following the guidelines below:
Durani, Y. (2011). Playground Safety. Nemours Center for Children's Health Media.
The right to recess
Like physical education and other physical activity opportunities in school, unstructured play in the form of recess has been proven to positively affect classroom behavior and focus. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that three in 10 American children have either no recess during the day or a minimal break of less than 15 minutes (Miller, 2012).
Not only does recess help mollify aggressive classroom behavior, this important time also provides children with a unique social learning opportunity. Unstructured physical play also reduces stress and increases on-task time in the classroom, resulting in fewer distractions (Miller, 2012).
With the epidemic of level of childhood obesity is threatening to shorten the lifespan of American children, it is more important than ever to cultivate opportunities for physical activity in schools. Recess is a valuable component of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) and Let's Move in School that can help combat childhood obesity.
Miller, C. (2012). The Importance of Recess: Study highlights why active play is critical for kids. Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School.
Additional valuable information
© 2013 American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance