As schools face increasing pressure to pack more academic subjects into every day, recess is all too often the first casualty. To the casual observer, it’s an easy decision: “why give kids a free period to ‘just run around’ when they could be inside learning,” right? But research from the American Academy of Pediatrics tells a different story: research is a critical component of every child’s cognitive, emotional, physical, and social welfare.
Recess improves focus
In a study sponsored by Georgia State University, researchers approached a school with a no-recess policy and gained permission for two fourth-grade classes to have recess twice a week. The result? Most of children in the test group — including several with ADD — were more focused and less fidgety on recess days than on non-recess days.
Recess is good for the brain … and the body
The exposure to natural light that kids receive during recess stimulates the pineal gland. Situated near the center of the brain, the pineal gland produces melatonin, an important hormone for regulating sleep cycles and other functions in the central nervous system. Natural light is also important for absorbing Vitamin D, which helps build strong immune systems, and for developing healthy eyesight.
Recess builds social skills
When kids have free time outside of the classroom, they have the opportunity to socialize, communicate, and cooperate with their classmates in an unstructured setting. And when recess involves play on a playground, the vital skills of sharing and turn-taking become part of the experience.
Recess inspires creativity
When kids are free from the rigors of the classroom, their imaginations have space to grow and develop. The longer the recess, the more beneficial it is for creative development: Informal studies show that it takes kids about 15-20 minutes to decide what to play and who will be involved, and only then can truly imaginative play begin to happen.
So if your school administration is considering getting rid of recess, remind them of these key benefits to the development and well-being of your students. And if you’re looking to enhance the recess experience with modern, engaging, safe playground equipment, give us a call at 713-939-9888. If you can dream it, we can build it!