Free the Children!

Strange post headline I know.  One of my pet peeves in education is not recognizing that boys in general are more active and have more energy than girls and that both sexes need play/exercise time in a recess. Preferably one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  I am of the opinion it would cause a lot less fidgeting and allow greater attention span for lessons.

Well according to an editorial in the Houston Chronicle I’ve been proved right, at least for one recess per day.

Editorial: Monkey bars matter

Do kids have a lot to learn in schools these days? Absolutely. But that’s a really dumb reason to take away their recess.

We firmly agree with Chrysi Polydoros and other parents now lobbying the Houston Independent School District: Elementary-school kids should enjoy a half hour of unstructured playground time each day – a precious 30 minutes to jump rope, play tag and hang upside-down from monkey bars.

Outdoor play with other kids, free from adults calling the shots, is too rare these days. And it’s also really good for kids. They exercise. They learn social skills. They figure out how to organize their own activities. And they get their ya-yas out. As any teacher can tell you, a class deprived of recess is a fidgety, cranky class.

Satisfyingly, what parents and teachers already know has been recently confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control. Last year, the CDC reviewed scientific literature related to “school-based physical activity.”

Of the eight studies involving unstructured recess, all eight found that recess had one or more positive results on kids’ cognitive skills, attitudes and academic behavior. And not one found any negative result – not even when comparing kids who got recess to kids who instead spent that time cramming in extra reading or math. Kids who’d had recess were better prepared to use the time that they spent in class: They had better attention and concentration, and did a better job of staying on task.

And speaking of free, I am free of the staples in my back from my spinal surgery and am heading home today.  I don’t think I’m quite ready for the monkey bars but they were my favorite thing in my recess days.

More in The Houston Chronicle.

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One Response to Free the Children!

  1. Kathryn says:

    Completely agree! I argued this one when my kids were in school.

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