Pediatricians Say Recess is Good for Kids
(March 5, 2013) -

Principal Mary Driscoll ensures that her students at the Edison K-8 School in Brighton enjoy some time each day to play and unwind. The Edison, whose schoolyard was renovated by BSI in 2011, is one of few in Boston that offers recess for middle school students. Driscoll maintains that teachers will gladly swap 15 minutes of instructional time for 15 minutes of recess due to the positive effects it has on students- including increased performance in the classroom.

It turns out the Edison is on to something. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a policy statement stressing the significant role of recess in contributing to the healthy growth and development of school-aged children. The statement asserts that by dedicating a small amount of time each day for physical activities and playtime (separate from physical education classes), students benefit in innumerable ways, from better health to positive social, emotional, and cognitive development. Recess is shown to increase children's attention spans, classroom behavior, and conflict resolution skills.

While many schools across the country are reducing recess time, some local schools are bucking the trend. The Edison is one of several Boston schools working with Playworks, a national organization that places 'coaches' at schools to organize and direct activities during recess. Studies about Playworks' efficacy have revealed that structured recess time has led to increased physical activity, greater quality instructional time, and a reduction in bullying and exclusionary behavior, according to Executive Director Max Fripp. Initiatives like Playworks are a great complement to BSI's longtime efforts to improve school grounds not just for classtime, but playtime too!