Tag Archives: Recess

In the rush to produce geniuses, are we forgetting the value of play

10 Mar

Children are not “mini mes” or short adults. They are children and they should have time to play, to dream, and to use their imagination. Dan Childs of ABC News reports in the story, Recess ‘Crucial’ for Kids, Pediatricians’ Group Says:

The statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics is the latest salvo in the long-running debate over how much of a young child’s time at school should be devoted to academics — and how much should go to free, unstructured playtime.
The authors of the policy statement write that the AAP “believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”
“The AAP has, in recent years, tried to focus the attention of parents, school officials and policymakers on the fact that kids are losing their free play,” said the AAP’s Dr. Robert Murray, one of the lead authors of the statement. “We are overstructuring their day. … They lose that creative free play, which we think is so important.”
The statement, which cites two decades worth of scientific evidence, points to the various benefits of recess. While physical activity is among these, so too are some less obvious boons such as cognitive benefits, better attention during class, and enhanced social and emotional development. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/recess-crucial-kids-aap-policy-statement/story?id=18083935#.UOZ606zIlIq

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn.

Debbie Rhea wrote the thoughtful Education Week commentary, Give Students Time to Play:

It seems counterintuitive to think that less classroom time and more outdoor play would lead to a better education for kids. After all, what many in our country, including most recently New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have prescribed are longer days in the classroom. But longer days on task don’t equate to better results. Instead, they translate into more burnout, lower test scores, and more of the same. All work and no play really does make dull boys and girls.
For years, educators have tried different strategies of more testing and of more time on task to reverse these trends, but they have proved to be unsuccessful. The answer is not additional in-class sitting time. What kids need is time to move and have unstructured play.
On a recent sabbatical, I spent six weeks in Finland studying how that country practices education. Reading, science, and math are important in the Finnish education system, but so are social studies, physical education, arts, music, foreign languages, and a number of practical skills. The school day in Finland looks much different from the school day in the United States.
“We should not sacrifice recess time for classroom time, and neither should be used to discipline students.”
In the United States, for example, a 1st grader attends school 35 hours a week, seven hours a day. In Finland, a 1st grader spends 22.5 hours a week in school, or 4.5 hours a day. Three hours each day are spent on content in the classroom, and another 1.5 hours are spent on recess or “unstructured outdoor play.” Some elementary schools in the United States do not have recess time built into their schedules, let alone outdoor recess.
Kids are built to move. Having more time for unstructured outdoor play is like handing them a reset button. It not only helps to break up their day, but it also allows them to blow off steam, while giving them an opportunity to move and redirect their energy to something more meaningful once they return to the classroom.
When a human sits for longer than about 20 minutes, the physiology of the brain and body changes. Gravity begins to pool blood into the hamstrings, robbing the brain of needed oxygen and glucose, or brain fuel. The brain essentially just falls asleep when we sit for too long. Moving and being active stimulates the neurons that fire in the brain. When you are sitting, those neurons don’t fire.
Getting students out of their chairs and moving outdoors is essential. A 2008 study published in JAMA Opthamology found that 42 percent of people in the United States between the ages of 12 and 54 are nearsighted. But 40 years ago, that number was only 25 percent, a change that can’t be explained by heredity. Time indoors can weaken our vision, especially if we are staring at computer screens and not looking away for long periods of time. Additional studies have also shown that when people have inadequate daylight exposure at work, particularly in areas that have poor indoor lighting, it can disrupt their circadian rhythms—the cycle that allows for healthy sleep. When these rhythms are thrown off, it can have a negative impact on academic performance.
I’m such a believer in more unstructured outdoor play and recess throughout the day that I’ve launched a pilot program called Project ISIS—Innovating Strategies, Inspiring Students—that is being implemented in two Texas private schools, with an additional three public elementary schools in that state coming on board by the fall. While the program doesn’t reduce the number of hours spent at school, it does build in more outside recess time. Students get two 15-minute unstructured outdoor-play breaks in the morning (one is right before lunch, the other is a full lunch with a short recess afterward), and then two more 15-minute recess breaks in the afternoon. These schools will continue to have physical education as a content area.
We should not sacrifice recess time for classroom time, and neither should be used to discipline students. The more movement children have throughout the day, the better they will be with attentional focus, behavioral issues, and academic performance…. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/02/26/22rhea.h33.html?tkn=VRYFMBKESIDvZIGHetFWpKk1lBN%2FPqxFrjSh&intc=es

We must not so over-schedule children that they have no time to play and to dream. Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

Related:

The ‘whole child’ approach to education
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/the-whole-child-approach-to-education/

Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools
https://drwilda.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests
https://drwilda.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

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American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement: Recess is important for children

3 Jan

Children are not “mini mes” or short adults. They are children and they should have time to play, to dream, and to use their imagination. Dan Childs of ABC News reports in the story, Recess ‘Crucial’ for Kids, Pediatricians’ Group Says:

The statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics is the latest salvo in the long-running debate over how much of a young child’s time at school should be devoted to academics — and how much should go to free, unstructured playtime.

The authors of the policy statement write that the AAP “believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”

“The AAP has, in recent years, tried to focus the attention of parents, school officials and policymakers on the fact that kids are losing their free play,” said the AAP’s Dr. Robert Murray, one of the lead authors of the statement. “We are overstructuring their day. … They lose that creative free play, which we think is so important.”

The statement, which cites two decades worth of scientific evidence, points to the various benefits of recess. While physical activity is among these, so too are some less obvious boons such as cognitive benefits, better attention during class, and enhanced social and emotional development. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/recess-crucial-kids-aap-policy-statement/story?id=18083935#.UOZ606zIlIq

Citation:

Policy Statement

The Crucial Role of Recess in School

  1. COUNCIL ON SCHOOL HEALTH

Abstract

Recess is at the heart of a vigorous debate over the role of schools in promoting the optimal development of the whole child. A growing trend toward reallocating time in school to accentuate the more academic subjects has put this important facet of a child’s school day at risk. Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education—not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.

Published online December 31, 2012 Pediatrics Vol. 131 No. 1 January 1, 2013
pp. 183 -188
(doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2993)

  1. » Abstract

  2. Full Text

  3. Full Text (PDF)

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment.

Related:

Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools https://drwilda.com/2011/12/15/childhood-obesity-recess-is-being-cut-in-low-income-schools/

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests https://drwilda.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                   Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                          http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                               https://drwilda.com/

Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools

15 Dec

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and obesity is often prevalent among poor children. The American HeartAssociation has some great information about Physical Activity and Children:

Why is exercise or physical activity important for my child?

Increased physical activity has been associated with an increased life expectancy and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.  Physical activity produces overall physical, psychological and social benefits. Inactive children are likely to become inactive adults. And physical activity helps with

  • controlling weight
  • reducing blood pressure
  • raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • reducing the risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancer
  • improved psychological well-being, including gaining more self-confidence and higher self-esteem 

How do I promote physical activity in my child?

  • Physical activity should be increased by reducing sedentary time (e.g., watching television, playing computer video games or talking on the phone).
  • Physical activity should be fun for children and adolescents.
  • Parents should try to be role models for active lifestyles and provide children with opportunities for increased physical activity.

What if my child is uncoordinated or overweight?

All children, even less-coordinated ones, need to be physically active.  Activity may be particularly helpful for the physical and psychological well-being of children with a weight problem.

The American Heart Association recommends:

  • All children age 2 and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day that are developmentally appropriate and varied.
  • If your child or children don’t have a full 60-minute activity break each day, try to provide at least two 30-minute periods or four 15-minute periods in which they can engage in vigorous activities appropriate to their age, gender and stage of physical and emotional development.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Physical-Activity-and-Children_UCM_304053_Article.jsp#.TummU1bfW-c

Unfortunately, many low-income children are having access to physical activities at school reduced because of the current recession.

Sandy Slater is reporting in the Education Nation article, Low-Income Schools Are Less Likely to Have Daily Recess

Here’s what we know:

Children aged six to 17 should get at least one hour of daily physical activity, yet less than half of kids aged six to 11 get that much exercise. And as kids get older, they’re even less active.

The National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that elementary school students get an average of 50 minutes of activity each school day – at least 150 minutes of PE per week and 20 minutes of daily recess.

• Kids who are more active perform better academically.

As a researcher and a parent, I’m very interested in improving our understanding of how school policies and practices impact kids’ opportunities to be active at school. My colleagues and I recently conducted a study to examine the impact of state laws and school district policies on PE and recess in public elementary schools across the country.

During the 2006 to 2007 and 2008 to 2009 school years, we received surveys from 1,761 school principals in 47 states. We found:

On average, less than one in five schools offered 150 minutes of PE per week.

Schools in states with policies that encouraged daily recess were more likely to offer third grade students the recommended 20 minutes of recess daily.

Schools serving more children at highest risk for obesity (i.e. black and Latino children and those from lower-income families) were less likely to have daily recess than were schools serving predominantly white students and higher-income students.

Schools that offered 150 minutes of weekly PE were less likely also to offer 20 minutes of daily recess, and vice versa. This suggests that schools are substituting one opportunity for another instead of providing the recommended amount of both.

Schools with a longer day were more likely to meet the national recommendations for both PE and recess.

So what does this mean?

We need strong state laws and district policies for PE and recess to help more of our youngest students meet the national recommendations for physical activity.

What can be done?

First, Congress should consider making PE a core requirement of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This would help ensure that all students get adequate amounts of exercise and that PE classes follow evidence-based guidelines and are taught by certified teachers.

Second, states should adopt and/or strengthen their PE and recess policies so they align with the national recommendations.

Third, school districts should continue to strengthen their policies by requiring time for PE and recess that aligns with the national recommendations.

Finally, given competing time demands and other issues schools face, increasing the amount of time for physical activity during the school day may be challenging. That’s why it’s critical for schools to help kids make the most of the time they do have for physical activity. Schools can do this by increasing the amount of time kids spend in moderate-to-vigorous activity during PE, recess and brief classroom breaks (you can find some resources here and here) and by offering intramural sports and physical activity clubs before or after school.

http://www.educationnation.com/index.cfm?objectid=ACF23D1E-229A-11E1-A9BF000C296BA163&aka=0

The gap between the wealthiest and the majority is society is also showing up in education opportunities and access to basic health care.

Moi said in Race, class, and education in America:

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/race-class-and-education-in-america/

To quote Yogi Berra, It’s deja vu all over again

Resources:

US Department Of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers

Related AHA Scientific Statements:
Children
Obesity
Physical Activity

Related AHA publications/programs:

See also:
Body Mass Index
Cardiac Disease in Children Statistics
Cholesterol in Children
Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Children
Exercise (Physical Activity) and Children
High Blood Pressure in Children
Infants and Diet

Overweight in Children
Obesity and Overweight

www.physicalactivityplan.org
http://ncppa.org/

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