Overview: Schools across the country have taken to changing the way kids spend recess, including less “free time” and more structured activities, to encourage physical exercise and group participation.
Leave Them Kids Alone
by Janie Flahnhoegennloegenn
The word ‘recess’ denotes a break in the day’s activities. As we get older, it’s mostly reserved for the courtroom, or necessary bathroom breaks in day-long meetings and seminars. But when I think of recess, it will always bring me back to my youth.
Call it a “simpler time,” call it “freedom,” call it what you will. I look back with fondness on those 30-minute breaks to run around outside, play games with friends, and, yes, sometimes just sit quietly under a shady tree, enjoying the weather. Why should we deprive today’s kids of that choice?
Some schools these days are forcing kids to participate in organized sports games (what is this, gym class?!) or join group activities (it’s not arts n’ crafts, either!) during this time. Others have eliminated recess altogether.
Think about your own schedule. Whether at work, school or home, isn’t it nice to be able to take a little break in the day, during which time you can do whatever you want? Imagine your boss scheduling a “group activity” during your lunch break. Or the college professor saying you can’t go to the movies after class because it’s not “productive” enough. How about the stay-at-home parent having to waive the miniscule ‘breather’ they’re able to steal away, because it’s not involved with team sports?
Kids grow up too fast as it is. Why make these recess rules, and force them to ‘play adult?’
Get Up, Get Active, Meet Friends
by Voulghar Imalessé
Despite the uproar and rumors surrounding this topic, it is unlikely that schools will cut recess out of the day. Sure, there may be some changes, but change is inevitable, and, in this case, just what kids need.
Programs already in place in schools across the nation — and many more proposals to implement similar programs — still give kids a break in the day. They just aim to make that break as productive and conducive to learning (which is why they’re in school in the first place!) as possible.
Let’s face it: today’s kids are fat and lazy. Okay, maybe not all kids, but, statistically, the obesity rate for American children is higher than ever, and with so many distractions (digital and otherwise), motivation levels have dropped… and so have test scores.
Some kids don’t get any other exercise throughout the day than what they would during a scheduled sports game. Other group activities, such as arts, help kids exercise their brains. And what’s wrong with meeting new people? The world is already full of angry loners. I think we’ve met our quota.
Schools that have implemented the “new” recess model aren’t forcing kids into sports, either, as some parents have accused. In fact, the activities usually rotate each week, so if one week everyone is playing soccer, the next week they might be learning about health issues, doing a fun science project, or any number of things that are much better than having a kid sit alone on the curb for half-an-hour, doing nothing.
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