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?