Americans are unhealthier than ever and our children aren’t immune to this alarming epidemic. Focus on adult wellness has been increasing; however, are neglecting our children in the process. Over the past decades, recess has been steadily reduced or entirely cut from the school day.
Putting recess on the back burner is sending the wrong message to our children—we’re ultimately telling them that physical activity isn’t important, that their health isn’t important.
Recess provides an opportunity for children to release pent-up energy, engage in stress-free active play, and develop positive healthy habits. Not only does recess develop physical activity habits in students, but it also has a positive impact on their cognitive and social wellbeing. Below are the top three reasons why recess is imperative.
Recess is a time for children to engage in physically active play.
- Active play allows children to release pent-up energy before settling down for academic lessons
- Recess instills positive physical activity habits in children at a young age; children who are active are more likely to grow up to be active adults
- Recess develops the association of physical activity and stress relief, promoting healthy habits in children, which carry into adulthood
Recess serves the same function as an adult’s lunch hour - it acts as a stress-reliever and allows students to engage in different activity after hours of learning.
- When children are sedentary for long periods of time, excess energy builds and students lose their ability to focus, resulting in decreased concentration, fidgeting, restlessness and off-task behavior
- After physical activity, students return to class refreshed and eager to learn
- Recess is a time for decompression, for students to release tension and anxiety from academics through play
- Recess boosts student’s attention rates and has a positive impact on classroom behavior
During recess children must share, cooperate, respect rules and solve conflict while participating in active play.
- Recess allows children to foster new friendships, learn about social norms and determine what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior among their peers
- Recess improves students’ self-esteem by allowing students to learn about their abilities, perseverance, responsibility and acceptance
Eliminating recess from the school day negatively affects our children’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional wellbeing. Recess not only has a positive impact on overall wellbeing, but also develops healthy habits at a young age. Reintroducing recess proactively takes a stand against childhood obesity and reiterates the importance of physical activity throughout the school day.