When we look back on the elementary school years, most of us have fond memories of playing with our friends at recess. This is the time of day when best friends play games and secrets are told. Every little group has their special place that they sit and talk. Some might sit under an old tree, while others gather on top of the jungle gym. There are swings, slides, and things to climb on. What more can a kid ask for? Playtime never seems long enough when you are kid. What kids don’t know, is that they are still learning while playing on the playground.
There is more to life than learning what is in a book. Academics are important, yet, life skills come from play time and interactions with other kids. Many kids even talk to their teachers during recess, allowing for better bonding time and conversational skills. Recess is also a time that kids look forward to every day. They often continue their games from day to day, picking up where they left off from the day before. They may play “house” in the fort, or form a secret club under the slide. These activities often mimic real life. Creative games allow them to learn how to negotiate, resolve disagreements, and problem solve.
Creativity is often left out of the academic day, as children get older. Crafts are main part of kindergarten, however, they start to fade out during first grade. Many kids still learn best when some creativity is applied. There are also many kids that thoroughly enjoy the creative subjects, such as art and theatre. Recess is a great time for these kids to express themselves by putting on little plays, or just simply singing as they walk around. An extension for recess is necessary if we want our future generations to acquire positive life skills and successful self-expression.
10Frees the Mind
Kids spend a lot of time in scheduled activities and being told what to do. Even at home they must adhere to rules that apply to every aspect of their lives. Kids do benefit from a schedule, however, they also need time to explore their own ideas. Young children are learning non-stop. They need time to process information. Children can easily get overstimulated, as their brains are constantly taking in new information. As adults, we kind of filter out things we already know about. Everything is new to kids, however.
Kids need more sleep, because they need to process more information. Since kids tend to have a ton of energy. When adults realize this they often overload them with schoolwork. It is important, however, to schedule downtime into their day. We all need breaks throughout the day. Adults are just better at pushing through long days without them. Kids have meltdowns. When this happens at school, it can be embarrassing for the child, as well as detrimental to learning.
It may not seem like kids have any big plans for their free time. Adults, after all, make all the scheduling decisions for them. They do, however, think ahead to what they would like to do during recess. Many kids may not have another break until bedtime. Recess and lunch are likely the only time they have to make their own choices. Those with working parents likely go to after school programs with pre-planned schedules. Even if they get playtime during these programs, homework is also a major part of the program. Recess allows time for kids to let go of all the expectations that adults put on them.
Kids are great at making up games and creating fun art. They can take items that are usually thrown away, and turn them into a toy. Most adults remember a time when they made a house out of box, for instance. Pillow forts, blanket tents, and stuffed animal tea parties all happen during free playtime. Sometimes, adults dismiss the ideas that kids have. It can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind, leaving little time for creative play. Kids need this time, however, to express themselves.
Recess is a great time to nurture creativity, as kids can make their own decisions about what to play. They also have a significant amount of other children to be creative with. This allows for kids to bounce ideas off of one another, often leading to the creation of games that are remembered far into adulthood. If you watch kids closely during recess, you can see the results of longer playtimes. Their games may become more detailed, and they may even find new ways to play existing games.
Kids can often be heard using made up words that belong in their creative activities. This type of thought is discouraged in the classroom, where they must adhere to proper language rules. They may even make up different names for themselves. They get the chance to be whoever they want to be during recess.
8Helps them Learn Better
Elementary academic programs can be rigorous. There is a lot of information that must fit into each school day. Public schools, especially, must keep up with a set curriculum. This can leave little time to devote to recess. Kids, however, may learn the information better if they are given an adequate break. Even adults, as some point, stop progressing when they work on projects too long without a break. Regular breaks help you stay focused better when you are on task.
Recess helps kids relax. The physical activity can release endorphins in the brain. This can help kids shed anxiety over things like tests. They can take a break from a difficult lesson, and revisit the concepts after clearing their head on the playground. Once a child becomes frustrated with a lesson, they need a break before revisiting it. Big projects are also overwhelming to some people. Kids need the time reassess the situation or think about what they want to do next. Recess is a great time of the day for reflection
Kids may have a better clarity of mind after recess, as well. A longer recess, or more than one during the day, can help maintain this clarity. Kids can get especially restless on state test days. These tests often require that kids sit for longer periods of time. Even if they finish the test early, they must sit still and wait for the others. A well-timed recess can help kids focus on the tests better. These tests often determine the amount of state funding allotted to the school. When school funding is concerned, it literally pays to extend recess.
Kids need to develop skills other than those taught in the academic realm. They must learn how to deal with their peers. They become skilled at conversation, working out differences, and empathy when they are able to spend time with friends in unscripted situations. There is little time to talk in a classroom. They need free time to have normal conversations. During this free time, they may even have a few arguments. This helps them learn about real life situations. They need problem solving skills to get through their adult years.
They may also need to ask for help from a teacher during this time. If a friend gets hurt, or a disagreement gets out of hand, they need to know what to do. Sometimes it is necessary to ask for help from an adult. Recess needs to be longer so that there is ample time for different types of situations to arise. Solid life skills can help with success at all ages of life.
Kids also tend to play games that mimic daily life. They may gather their friends and pretend to be a family, assigning each other roles. They may also pretend that they have jobs. While they are executing these activities, they are applying what they have learned by watching adults. This helps to prepare them for the future.
6Bonding with Friends and Teachers
Teachers barely have time to learn their student’s names, much less learn about their lives. Recess gives kids and teachers time to talk. Most young kids adore their teachers. This makes it much easier for a conversation to start once the opportunity arrives. Teachers, also, love their students. They want to hear about how their kids are doing and what their days are like. Large classes, however, make this difficult, as there is not time to talk to each student separately.
Time spent in the classroom is not enough to build relationships on. Kids need time to have full-length conversations that are not interrupted by a bell, or teacher. Some friends do not get to see each other outside of school. Longer recess allows these students time to build a bond. These bonds often last into adulthood when they are nurtured properly. It is important to allow kids the opportunity to enhance their lives in this way.
Bonding is an important part of child development. They need to bond with people other than their parents. Relationship building is a big part of life. Kids learn trust, accountability, and how to care for others. Kids usually make friends rather easily, but sometimes they need a little help. Extra red
Kids today are often put on medication to get them to be still during the school day. In older generations, kids often walked great distances to school. They may also have been expected to help out on the family farm before and after school. These activities offered ample time for getting extra energy out. Kid’s today hop on a bus, or in the car, to get to school. There is no morning workout to get that early morning energy out of the child.
Many daycare establishments provide a morning and afternoon recess. The early morning recess is a great outlet for the first burst of energy that children come to school with. This practice should continue on into the elementary school years. Excessive amounts of time are spent on punishments, when many behavior issues could be solved by allowing more recess. The extra free time, physical activity, and social time gives kids the opportunity to get things out of their system before settling in for class.
Better behaved children can be a constant in classrooms everywhere if more recess is implemented. Students do not usually set out to cause trouble in class. They simply get restless, and need a change of pace throughout the day. Kids are not meant to sit down for long periods of time. They have a ton of energy and like to explore their surroundings. This is how they learn.
4 More Patient Teachers
Kids are not the only ones that need a break during the day. Teachers can get worn out from working with large numbers of kids all day. Recess also allows teachers to take a break. Most teachers are allowed to sit down, as long as they are near the playground. Kids do not usually need as much attention when they are having fun at recess. Teachers can give their mind a rest while still keeping an eye on the class.
Once class time resumes, teachers and students may both feel much calmer. Teachers must be incredibly patient to deal with kids. They often have to repeat instructions several times to make sure everyone understands. They also have to stay positive, even when the kids are having trouble learning something. This all requires immense patience. Training to be a teacher presents with some practices that can be used when patience is running low.
When you are mentally stressed out, it is difficult to handle tough situations gracefully. There is no reason to put teachers in a situation where they may fail to do their best. The kids in the class deserve to spend the day with a teacher that regularly shows kindness and patience. This is much easier when teachers get a nice break from the classroom.
The physical health of many children is at risk in modern times. The obesity rates in children are alarming. Poor diets, minimal exercise, and increased stress are all contributing to weight gain and other health issues. Long hours in the classroom contribute to this problem. Kids sit still all day, only walking between classes and on bathroom breaks. The only time they get to move freely, is during recess.
Recess is different than just going for a walk. Kids often run around, jump, and exert high levels of energy. When they get their heart rate up a little, they are likely to burn more calories. This can be helpful for kids that have a genetic disposition to obesity. Schools cannot control what kids do at home, or bring for lunch. They can, however, make recess longer. This is a pertinent part of keeping kids healthy.
When it comes to physical health, teachers often feel helpless when they see a child that is overweight. Teachers can help them at recess, however. They can set up relay races, obstacle courses, or a short exercise routine.
2 Mental Health
Long days in a classroom can take a toll on mental health. There is not much that can be done to shorten these days, however. Kids must learn a predetermined amount of things each year. Teachers can barely fit all of the information in. This means that kids are feeling the stress. They often take home large amounts of homework, even after a long day of learning at school.
Mental health can decline greatly when you are not allowed to move out of one major room. Teachers can help by allowing students to stand up for a stretch each hour of the day. A longer recess, however, could easily add enough movement to help deter mental discomfort. Even the easiest of children can become difficult if they do not get a proper rest from the classroom.
Recess helps to improve mental health by providing exercise, time with friends, and a break. Exercise causes the body to release endorphins. These chemicals help the mind resist anxiety and depression. They also help mimic the response that the brain has to a hug. The social aspect of recess helps kids develop a support system. When kids have peers that they trust, they are more likely to talk about their problems. The sun also plays a part in mental health. Vitamin D is necessary for the body to perform properly. Studies have shown that a lack of Vitamin D can contribute to depression. Students need a decent break during the day to perform well, and stay mentally healthy.
1More Enjoyment of the School Day
Recess gives kids something to look forward to. Kids don’t always enjoy every aspect of their school day. They need something during their day that brings joy. They may also not be able to speak with their friends much during class, due to the busy lessons. Recess is a time where kids can catch up with their friends. Sometimes they may just sit and talk. This can be misleading, as it may seem like kids do not need to get their energy out. Recess, however, is more than just an exercise time. It is their social time. They spend a large part of this time building relationships.
Everyone enjoys their day much better when they can have a little time that has nothing to do with school or work. Some kids may look forward to hanging out with their friends, while others may anticipate playing on the new slide. You can easily tell that kids enjoy this part of the day when you watch them disperse onto the playground. They usually get instantly louder and run to their favorite spot. This joy is usually a bright spot in their day.
School is usually more difficult for some rather than others. For those that have a hard time academically, this break can bring some much needed fun. Time spent at school does not have to be serious at all times. Fun is a healthy part of life. Challenging times are much easier to handle when you are able to have a little fun, as well. We often associate school with no fun when we are talking to kids. It is important that we make proper changes to our attitudes as adults. A better attitude towards school can be taught, instead.
Kids today are more stressed out than ever. With recent improvements in technology, school should be easier than in the past. The changes in curriculum, time frames, and amount of work have changed. It is not feasible to think that children are going to come home from school happy with everything. They may not like certain subjects or people. Extra time at recess can help kids decompress a bit, so that they can focus better on classroom activities. In classes that fall directly after recess, kids are more likely to concentrate better, behave well, and feel happier.
The decision to extend recess times is not one that is taken lightly. The time used for extra recess has to be taken from somewhere. Most people are not on board with lengthening the entire day. Classes are already barely long enough to fit in the entire curriculum. Extending recess, however, may make it easier for kids to concentrate. This would help teachers get through material faster, and also help grades improve. It is a good idea to be vigilant about getting teacher and kids, alike, moving at regular intervals. Recess is optimal, however, some light stretching can be done in the classroom.
Students are not the only ones that need a break throughout the day. It is hard to remain patient and efficient when you are worn out. A short break on the playground can help to rejuvenate everyone. Teachers often remain exhausted throughout the entire day because breaks are limited or ridiculously short. Teachers may even spend their lunch period in a room with students. It is important to keep teachers healthy and rejuvenated. They are on the front lines with precious children, almost every day.