Alabama Families for Recess

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In an effort to meet accountability mandates, recess has been squeezed out of the school day for many children in Mobile. While we all share the desire for our children to achieve academically, taking away recess is counterproductive to those goals.  

It is uniformly shown that students who are allowed daily recess demonstrate increased focus, stronger problem-solving skills, improved creativity, and better adaptability. Research also shows that classrooms become more productive, with less off-task behavior, when daily recess is implemented. 

It is an indispensable component to a child's education because it promotes their "social, emotional, physical, & cognitive development." (American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on School Health. The Crucial Role of Recess in School. Pediatrics. 2013). 

The research is so substantial that the Alabama Department of Education recommends that both P.E. and recess be included in the daily curriculum. Listed below are a few of the many other organizations recommending daily recess for elementary students:

- The U.S Department of Health & Human Services

- The American Academy of Pediatrics

- The National Association for Sports & Physical Education 

- The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

There are many successful models of schools that include both daily recess and rich academic experience, including International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. As stakeholders genuinely interested in working toward what is best for our community, we urge our school administrators to include daily recess in every elementary school day. 

We, the undersigned current and future parents and caregivers of students in the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS), taxpayers, and residents of Mobile County, do hereby petition the Mobile County School Board and Superintendent Chresal Threadgill to mandate a daily schedule time for all students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 5 to have at least 20 consecutive minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free-play recess PER DAY, 5 days per week, and preferably outdoors (weather permitting). Free-play recess shall not be withheld for academic or punitive reasons. Free-play recess shall not replace nor be substitute for physical education. 

These scheduled breaks for unstructured play allow students to develop negotiation and leadership skills, self-control, and other communication skills that will help them develop into productive citizens. Just as adults need breaks throughout the day, so do our energetic and curious children. 

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