Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Recess deemed critical to student success

For many kids, recess is their favorite part of the day. And the American Academy of Pediatrics now deems it to be just as important as reading, writing and math in a position paper which calls the downtime “crucial.”

For years, parents and students have complained as schools have decreased recess time in favor of more hours spent hitting the books. And now, the nation’s group of pediatricians, backs them up. In the report, the authors say that cutting recess in favor of instruction backfires. The paper states:

Recess is a necessary break in the day for optimizing a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. In essence, recess should be considered a child’s personal time, and it should not be withheld for academic or punitive reasons.

Virginia is one of only three states which requires at least 20 minutes of recess per day for elementary school children. But the report made me wonder: Are teachers withholding recess for punishment? Also, are local kids reaping the benefits of a play break during the day?

I’d love to hear from you for a story about recess. Please get in touch and let me know if your child misses recess as a punishment. Or, if you’re a teacher, let me know if you ever withhold recess and if that works.