Recess Solutions

An article from March 14 in The New York Times titled “Forget Goofing Around: Recess Has a New Boss,” discusses how some elementary schools are adapting recess coaches to lead organized recess games.  Although this helps with the liability and safety concerns of recess that were causing its elimination, there are still some problems.  Dr. Romina M. Barros, an assistant clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx who was an author of a widely cited study on the benefits of recess said it best, that children still benefit most from recess when they are let alone to daydream, solve problems, use their imagination to invent their own games and “be free to do what they choose to do.”

This video, “An In-Depth Look at School Recess,” is a case study of recess at an elementary school in St. Louis, Missouri.  It’s 10 minutes long, but really goes into detail about some of the reasons why school officials are against recess, and what steps can be taken to create a more successful recess for both kids and officials.

In my opinion, recess coaches are a great compromise that schools should adapt in order to keep recess.  A completely structured recess, however, I feel does not take full advantage of what children can gain from free play.  Coaches should lead recess in an organized manner but without forcing all children to participate in one game.  Just as in the video, there should be options that allow children to benefit socially and emotionally from peer interaction.  What do you think?



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5 responses to “Recess Solutions

  1. I completely agree. Recess is more than just exercise and being outdoors – like you said, it is about benefiting students socially and emotionally to enrich their personal development. they should have the choice to mingle and choose their own activities so they can become more independent.

  2. Great topic. I have been reading about recess coaches in the NY Times recently. I know that these coaches are to help prevent child obesity, but I believe Gym is the place to force physical activity.

  3. I love this topic! I think it is something that needs improvement. Your use of multiple sources, including and article and video was great! Your overall flow, helped walked me through your thought process and I am totally on board!

  4. ibsoonerfan

    That’s great for an inner city school that is having problems with fights etc. and where they may not have good role models that have taught them the basics of sportsmanship and good play. In my kids school that is not as much as an issue and the kids are forced to play one game all recess with the kids that are in their group even if those are not the friends they want to play with. Kids need just free time to develop social skills and learn how to deal with conflict.

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