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Description: Think back to when you were in elementary school. What did you do during recess? Did you ever think of recess as an important component of your educational day or just as a cherished break away from the demands of the classroom? From a developmental psychological perspective how should we look at, think about and design elementary school recesses? How many should there be in a day? How long should they be? What should the playground look like? Collect you own thoughts on these questions and then listen to the radio story about recess linked below to see what school children, educators and developmental psychologists have to say about these questions.

Source: Why experts say school shouldn’t shy away from a little physicality during recess, The Current, CBC Radio.

Date: February 27, 2019

Photo Credit: Orlando Sentinal

Article Link: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/the-current/segment/15673155

For all children and especially for young children play is their work. By that developmental psychologists mean that play (especially creative free-play) is what children should be doing as it helps them develop cognitively, physically, emotionally, and socially. So, recess is not just a break from the important educational experiences of a school day, it is a developmentally important part of each child’s daily experience and should be supported and considered a part of a school educational/developmental responsibilities to its attending students.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How should we define “recess” as part of an elementary school schedule?
  2. What are some of the links between what goes on outside of school at recess and what goes on inside of school the rest of each day?
  3. How should schools (and parents) approach and think about the issues of school yard (recess) safety and risk?

References (Read Further):

Barros, R. M., Silver, E. J., & Stein, R. E. (2009). School recess and group classroom behavior. Pediatrics, 123(2), 431-436. http://stophomework.com/Barros%202009.pdf

Ridgers, N. D., Salmon, J., Parrish, A. M., Stanley, R. M., & Okely, A. D. (2012). Physical activity during school recess: a systematic review. American journal of preventive medicine, 43(3), 320-328. http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1105&context=sspapers

Ramstetter, C. L., Murray, R., & Garner, A. S. (2010). The crucial role of recess in schools. Journal of School Health, 80(11), 517-526. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Catherine_Ramstetter/publication/227723735_The_Crucial_Role_of_Recess_in_Schools/links/5b0301b10f7e9be94bdab67c/The-Crucial-Role-of-Recess-in-Schools.pdf

Cardon, G., Van Cauwenberghe, E., Labarque, V., Haerens, L., & De Bourdeaudhuij, I. (2008). The contribution of preschool playground factors in explaining children’s physical activity during recess. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5(1), 11. https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-5868-5-11

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