School is about teaching and learning, and recess should just be a small break in the day for kids to eat and get outside, right? Maybe not.
More researchers and educators are noticing the importance of recess for kids, as the time on the playground is not only a great way for kids to unwind, but it helps with their behavior, focus, and discipline throughout the rest of the day.
Many observational studies have noticed these effects, and some schools are beginning to take note. Today Parents reported that after Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas started giving their students four breaks a day for 15 minutes each, its students were less fidgety, more focused, and even more creative.
Despite these findings, many schools are still cutting back on recess, which could have detrimental effects on children’s learning and behavior.
More breaks could be the way to get kids to perform better in school, and these five scientific reasons support why it’s important for kids to have more recess everyday.
1. It Helps Kids Behave Better In Class
A study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that kids who received more than 15 minutes of recess a day behaved better in class than those who only got a break for 15 minutes or less. According to the researchers, recess allows their brain to rest and recharge before being fed with new information.
2. It’s A Good Source Of Exercise
Considering the rampant obesity epidemic in America, exercise during the day is more than necessary for kids. Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundationfound that fewer than half of children ages six to 11 meet the minimum recommendation of 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day, but the study also found that kids can accumulate up to 40 percent of that exercise during a recess.
3. It Improves Kid’s Attitudes
Research from Stanford University found that kids in schools with a high-quality recess program that includes play, fostered positive relationships, feelings of safety and even less bullying. Playing games with other children helped them with conflict resolution and more positive language, which improved the overall school climate.
4. Playtime Bolsters The Brain
Playtime alone provides its own cognitive benefits. Research on rats has shown that after rough and tumble play, rats showed increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor — the protein responsible for the growth and maintenance of brain cells — as well as improved memory and growth of the cerebral cortex. Playtime also helps with creative problem solving, teamwork, and language.
5. Recess Improves Focus Later On
Studies from the University of Minnesota and Monmouth University found that playful breaks help maximize children’s cognitive performances, and that recess breaks between 10 and 20 minutes help kids pay attention later on in class.
At the end of the day, kids need recess to not only help with their academics and discipline, but to help them develop social skills they can use beyond the classroom.