How important is recess?

 
Many schools that are not at the highest status rating have been required to cut back their recess time or cut it out entirely. 

By Shelby Moore

Teacher

Shelby Moore is a kindergarten teacher at an inner-city school in Houston and was recently awarded as one of the East Region's Campus Teachers of the Year.

Many schools that are not at the highest status rating have been required to cut back their recess time or cut it out entirely. As parents, how important to you is it that your child has recess?

With my first teaching job, I taught kindergarten at a school where our status was just Acceptable. With Recognized or Exemplary ratings as our goal, we were strongly encouraged to use recess as a reward for our students--no matter their age. I remember most of the teachers who taught K-2 would only take their students out on Fridays and the teachers who taught grades 3-5 would only take recess in April and May--after the big standardized test was over. As a new teacher, I stuck to my beliefs that recess was necessary for my kindergarten students, even though I could see the other teachers whispering to each other about me taking a 20-minute recess with my students after lunch each day. 

In Illinois, Chicago's Public Schools are considering extending the school day to allow for students to get in their active free play for the day. Some people feel that if you are going to extend the day the focus should strictly be academic.