Is Recess Important in Elementary School?

By | May 8, 2016

The controversy rages on. Do kids need recesses? Aren’t they wasting valuable instruction time? If recesses are needed, how many and how long is appropriate?

I’m no expert, but, when I taught, the recess breaks were important to the kids and to me. Primary children need to get up, get outside and run, socialize and inhale fresh air. As teachers we needed the break to round-up materials, make time-sensitive phone calls and have a few minutes to chat with fellow teachers.

Many believe recess helps the kids come in and get focused on their upcoming tasks. It gives the restless students a chance to get out their wiggles and shy students chances to continue to develop their social skills and interact with other students.

In our classrooms we opted for a morning with no breaks. It was our opening activities and our language arts time. We included movement and activities that got kids up from sitting, mostly moving from group to group, but also engaged in art and shared stations around the classroom . Lunch and a 30 -minute recess came next. In the afternoon we had one 20-minute break. That worked well for us.

What have your experiences been with kids and recess?

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