My son is a perpetual powder keg of passion. You wouldn’t know that at school. He’s quiet, but not shy. He walks in straight lines and listens closely. He doesn’t look like the type of kid who needs recess. After all, he behaves. He doesn’t fidget too much.
However, the minute he gets home, he explodes in energy. He kicks the soccer ball around and jumps onto the tire swing and chases the neighborhood kids around in a game of tag. I know that his teacher incorporates movement. I realize that he gets a fair amount of exercise in PE. However, he needs uninterrupted, unfettered, un-structured time to run freely.
I noticed this last Friday when I observed several classrooms. The school has slowly reduced recess down to a ten minute period tacked onto lunch. In many cases, the most rambunctious students lose out on this time because they are hyperactive in class. Thus, as they sat in solitude taking their common assessments, legs jiggled, kids giggled and teachers grew angry. Kids looked cagey and I couldn’t blame them.
I’m not sure if it’s an issue of liability, the obsession with test-taking or the high-minded talk about high standards, but we’re doing an injustice to kids when they don’t a chance for free play and recess. This sounds like an overstatement, but here in the U.S. we face a hypertension epidemic. People are literally dying for play.
I know we are trying to push for play in and out of school. I believe in the power of play. Yet, what I’m also suggesting here is a specific movement for movement – a way that we can get recess back into school so that kids who don’t have the opting out option can still benefit. I’m taking it local first. I’ll try and meet with the school board and I’ll write to representatives. I’m not sure if the Death of Recess is an issue in other regions.
However, I want to raise awareness and move toward action with this issue. I would love some specific ideas on how to move forward with this.