The Death of Recess

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It’s a beautiful sunny day, the weather a perfect 70 degrees. Yet, instead of playing outside and enjoying the day, restless elementary schoolers are stuck inside due to cuts in recess. In the past few years, recess has been removed in schools all over the United States. As a result, children’s grades and motivation are falling, behavioral problems are increasing, and important skills are not being learned. Parents and teachers are speaking out on this issue, fighting to bring back recess and ensure a strong childhood and future for all elementary schoolers.

The New York Times article “Do Kids Need Recess?” by Jeremy Engle, reports on a law passed in Arizona that requires two recesses per day for students. As a result, there have been “…enhanced test scores and improvement in children’s overall health.” These encouraging results have even pushed other concerned parents to write letters to their state legislatures demanding a recess for elementary school students. Caroline Anderson, a kindergarten teacher at Webster Hill Elementary School, agreed with this statement and said that “…playing with other kids is just as important as reading, writing and math.” Everyday, core subjects are forced upon students to learn, however social skills are just as crucial.

One of the reasons why recess is important is that it could cause a decrease in behavioral issues. If a time and place isn’t given for children to run around and play, behavioral mishaps are bound to happen more frequently inside the classroom and at home. Erin Lewis, a mother of two elementary school students expressed, “If recess were eliminated, there would be more discipline issues in and out of class.” When it’s time for bed, the lack of recess is shown when students are too energetic and hyper to fall asleep.

Recess aids with creating social interaction skills needed to succeed far beyond the playground. In The Scholastic’s article, “Recess Makes Kids Smarter”, a woman named Nelly Torres explains the importance of recess. She says that it “…taught me how to get along with others -whites, African-Americans. Nowadays, kids don’t know how to socialize among other groups.” By cutting recess, schools aren’t allowing children to develop core skills that are going to be essential in their futures.

Parents and teachers everywhere agree that recess brings many things to a child’s life that they would otherwise not have. They can create connections, problem solve, get a break from academics, and simply have fun. As children grow, the stressors in their life will increase and their lives will become more and more hectic. Young scholars should not feel overworked by academics; their childhood only lasts so long. Sometimes, everybody needs a little break to go out and enjoy the sun.