If you ask a group of kids about their favorite subject in school, you’re bound to find a few of them respond with “recess.” It’s an answer that many people don’t take seriously since it isn’t a primary subject such as English or Social Studies. Some schools are even choosing to cut back on recess or remove it altogether. However, it offers numerous benefits to the kids; recess is actually just as important as core subjects. We examine how recess can positively impact a student’s life in the classroom.
It Helps Kids Behave During Class
It’s common for school administrators to punish misbehaving students by no longer allowing them the privilege of recess; however, this “free time” can actually prevent poor behavior in the first place. In fact, 97% of teachers believe that recess improves the conduct in students who tend to behave badly, and 95% of them said that their students’ social interactions improved when they played together outside. Recess acts as an outlet for boisterous kids who struggle with remaining in their chairs for long time periods. Recess ensures there are fewer disruptions in the classroom. On the same hand, students depend on recess to help with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. This is because, to kids, recess allows them to have control of their lives by discovering their interests and honing them.
In a nutshell, recess is a safe space. It’s a time for students to open up and try new things, and when teachers prevent this from happening, it can end up coming back to bite them. Withholding recess as punishment won’t always fix behavioral issues because the student may just be antsy to go outside and decompress after a few long lessons. To your dismay, they may act out of turn instead.
Students Focus Better with a Break
While adults can generally concentrate with minimal breaks, kids can’t focus that easily—and one break for lunch won’t cut it. To kids, recess is an unstructured time in their day to recharge from cognitive activity. Whether kids want to explore the playground outdoor playsets or partake in a ball game on the blacktop, how they spend recess is totally up to them. Once it’s time for kids to return to the classroom, they can effectively refocus and retain what they learn. Furthermore, recess reduces stress. Without recess, kids go without a welcome break from their studies. Because of this, their minds might start to wander. They may even fidget and squirm in their seats, eager to stand up at any moment. Recess is a valuable part of the school day because it increases attentiveness and contributes to students’ success in the classroom. After a quick break to play, students are ready to learn.
Kids Have the Ability to Move Outside of Class
While teachers are doing a better job at incorporating physical activity into their lesson plans, kids still need to release their pent-up energy. Classrooms oftentimes have limited space for kids to move around; recess essentially allows kids to “blow off steam” while also enjoying the fresh air. Additionally, this time acts as part of the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity for kids.
While anyone can make the argument that kids can exercise outside of school, past research confirms that children are most active at recess. Some children live in unsafe areas, so when they go home, playing outside isn’t an option. The school grounds provide kids the ability to run around, use their “outside voices,” and even apply what they learned in their school’s physical education program. Plus, this outdoor exercise not only fights against child obesity, but it also can boost children’s academic performance. Rather than allocating more time to core subjects and standardized test preparation, teachers may need to give their students time to move and play. Physical education simply isn’t a substitute for recess because teachers need to present these structured classes in a controlled environment.
It Encourages Curiosity and Creativity
While recess is a way for children to exercise, it also engages their minds. Recess allows students’ imaginations to run wild. For example, during this time, kids can make up their own games and teach them to their peers. They can also try using playground toys, such as hula hoops and jump ropes to spark new, imaginative ideas. When they return to class, students feel more confident in their inventiveness and are then able to come up with creative solutions for in-class projects. Simply put, recess isn’t just “for fun”—it’s an opportunity for kids to unapologetically try new things. Additionally, if schools are also cutting back on art programs, recess may be a student’s last option when it comes to letting loose and using their imagination.
Students Can Practice Independence and Leadership
Teachers run their classrooms, but at recess, the students have a chance to take the lead. Recess is a time for kids to be kids; it gives them the opportunity to socialize with different groups and participate in fun activities together. Should problems arise, they can develop their conflict-resolution skills and work toward fair solutions. The best part about this is that children can easily bring these problem-solving experiences into the classroom. For example, if students need to share responsibilities or school supplies, they can think back to a time on the playground when they shared sports equipment. Recess plays an important role in developing a child’s socialization skills.
Ultimately, schools may want to think twice about removing recess from their agendas, as it’s a necessary component that helps children fully develop. If you want to ensure your school provides the maximum benefits of recess to your students, invest in a well-equipped playground. Discount Playground Supply provides the highest quality playground equipment to schools. We offer a wide range of new and replacement parts for playgrounds of all sizes. From slides to swings, we carry it all. Feel free to shop around on our website—give us a call and we’ll make sure your school has the best possible playground for recess!