More focus on standardized testing in recent years has unfortunately meant less time for recess in some schools across the country. For example, according to the 2016 Shape of the Nation Report, only 16 percent of states required elementary schools to provide daily recess.
Despite some school boards and law officials saying “no” to mandatory recess, the research says, “YES!” Such as a 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics study saying that “safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits.”
IPEMA’s Voice of Play initiative decided to go to the source – teachers – and conduct a survey. Of the teachers surveyed, 93 percent said that their school currently offers recess for its students. For those who said their school did not offer recess, the reason was that it was either due to additional time being needed for academics due to poor student performance or due to the school day being too short to include time for recess.
The survey also said that the average length of recess is 25 minutes per day. This is good news, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 20 minutes of recess per day. The primary location of recess, according to 87 percent of those surveyed, is outdoors and on a playground, and 89 percent said children are supervised all the time during recess.
About half do not have structured recess (meaning they participate in activities chosen by the teacher or other school faculty). A wide variety of experts agree that play is essential for a child’s brain development. Studies have shown that free play affects neurological development and determines how the neural circuits of the brain are wired. In other words, free play affects a child’s confidence, intelligence and ability to articulate.
To read more about the survey, click here. And check out the recess survey featured on Playground Professionals!