photo: Shared Schoolyard Project
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Understanding recess should be pretty simple, right? Kids gleefully head outside to run, play, and burn off all that pent up energy between spelling tests and multiplication lessons. According to new guidelines, however, that short break isn’t as cut-and-dried as you think. Read on to learn how recess could change to make the most of kids’ playtime.
Developed by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the guidelines address the questions brought up by last year’s Shape of the Nation report. For example, the research uncovered the fact that only eight states in the nation even require time for recess. Yes you read that right: only eight. They also found that there was very minimal guidance in place to advise schools on how to make that time useful.
The guideline offers 19 specific strategies for schools to implement successful recess programs. The components include things as simple as creating an environment to play even when it’s too cold or rainy to go outside, to more complex ideas like, providing planned activities.
“I don’t think there’s a value placed in recess and physical activity,” Michelle Carter, senior program manager at SHAPE, told NPR. Any parent that’s tried to initiate homework time after a full day of school can attest to just how necessary physical activity is for kids. Thankfully the program seems to be off to a good start and is showing signs of success in the schools that have started implementing its concepts.