Play Time Is Over?


Credit: Playworks

Recess is a very happy time for students. It gives them a chance to play with their classmates and forget about school for just a minute; but research has shown that the amount of time students get for recess has steadily decreased since the 1970’s.

Science Daily  explains that since then, “children have lost about 12 hours per week in free time, including a 25 percent decrease in play and a 50 percent decrease in unstructured outdoor activities.” This would help to explain why childhood obesity and lower test scores are on the rise.

This drop in recess time has been blamed on many things but “No Child Left Behind” seems to be a strong inhibitor. Dr. Romina M. Barros, M.D., assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Einstein College of Medicine stated, “Many schools responded to NCLB by reducing the time for recess, the creative arts, and physical education in an effort to focus on reading and mathematics.”

It’s true that education comes first. Without an education, students are doomed to fail. However, many good things come out of having recess.

1. Increased brain function

In 2009, the New York Times posted an article that stated, “the more physical fitness tests children passed, the better they did on academic tests.” This can be attributed to the fact that physical play increases brain function therefore, increasing learning.

2. Less childhood obesity

It’s a no brainer that exercise helps maintain weight. Childhood obesity is the result of children being too caught up with social media and today’s technology. Cutting recess out just adds fuel to the flame.

3. Positive social interaction

When children have recess, they interact with on another. This encourages children to step out of their comfort zone and learn more about the people around them.

4. Free thinking

Children are notorious for making up games or role-playing. This kind of entertainment allows children to be creative and encourages their imagination to grow.

5. Relaxation

The world is a stressful place, even for students. They have tests, homework, peer pressure, and a ton of other things to worry about. Recess is a time to forget about all of that at least for a moment.

Taking play time out completely seems barbaric and could lead to many more issues in schools. The only thing that can be said now is that it’s up to each school to determine how much recess should be given.

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2 Responses to “Play Time Is Over?”

  1. Beth says:

    Hi Alec! Great post. Recess is absolutely necessary for students (and even adults). It sad to see the time shrinking and in some cases even being eliminated. If you haven’t already, you may enjoy the NYTimes article “How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain” –
    (PS Could you ref Playworks for the above photo? Our photographer took that one.) Happy blogging!

  2. Alec Difrawi says:

    Thanks, it’s actually a guest post by Leighann Carroll. The credit was in the alt text but now it is below the photo as well. Thank you for sharing!

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