The U.S Play Coalition’s annual conference brought together leading experts and leaders in “PLAY FOR LIFE,” which explored play across the lifespan. IPEMA and the Voice of Play was once again a sponsor and we were thrilled to do a presentation with Olga Jarrett, Ph.D. and Lynn Campanella of Playocracy Inc.
“Why Play Matters: The State of Recess in North America” dove into research and real examples of the current state of recess in North America, and why recess is critical for the development of physical, emotional, social and cognitive skills in children. While progress has been made, there is still work to be done to keep recess part of the curriculum!
In 2018, IPEMA and the Voice of Play surveyed teachers to gain their perspectives on the importance of recess. Among the findings was that each teacher surveyed – 100 percent – said that recess is essential for young students’ mental and physical development. IPEMA’s president Tom Norquist shared this top-level research. Next, Olga Jarrett gave the audience a look at state recess legislation across the U.S. and shared interesting results from a high poverty school in Georgia. Lastly, Lynn Campanella gave the crowd a look at research she’d done in Canada, and what a high-quality recess could look like.
IPEMA Survey Highlights
- IPEMA and Havas PR worked with Wakefield Research to develop questions for a 2018 survey targeted at American teachers to gather their attitudes and perceptions of the benefits of recess.
- 500 U.S. elementary school teachers were surveyed online, and we used this data for web and social content, as well as to spark media interest.
- Online and print media (both trade and consumer), resulted in a reach of 120.8 million people.
- The results can be found here.
United States Recess Legislation
- Requires daily recess but does not specify duration: Delaware, Arizona
- Requires daily physical activity that may include recess: Indiana, Vermont
- Requires 20 minutes of recess daily: New Jersey, Florida, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia (50 min. down time), Hawaii
- Monthly requirement that may include recess: Colorado
- Requires 30 minutes of recess daily: North Carolina (through grade 12), Georgia
- Multiple recesses a day: Arkansas, Tennessee, Arizona
Quality Recess = Board-Wide Recess Policy
- Action Plan: a communication tool for all stakeholders
- Engagement in a supportive recess program
- Respect student voice
- Surveys – what students like and don’t like about recess (and what they want to do at recess)
It was an engaging few days, with sessions and keynotes addressing universal issues of health, education, access, equity, inclusion, design and more. We were happy to interact with fellow play experts, and hope to continue to drive conversation on the value of play!