Louisiana Public Elementary Students Need Recess
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We would like to petition the Louisiana State Legislators to pass a bill that would guarantee all Louisiana public school students in preschool, kindergarten, and grades one through six have recess periods of supervised, unstructured activity time, preferably outdoors, 5 days per week, for a minimum of 20 minutes a day (as recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention). The benefit that this would provide for our students is undeniable. Some Louisiana schools do provide a break during the day but many do not. I find this to be unacceptable, not only for my 8 year old daughter who has only had two free-play breaks so far this entire school year, but for all of the elementary students in our state. Louisiana children as young as 3 and 4 are being denied free play time in school. This is not just ill conceived, it is potentially extremely harmful.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on School Health issued a policy statement in 2013 about The Crucial Role of Recess in School. According to the statement, they are very concerned about the widespread reallocation of daily activity time in school in favor of additional academic instruction. They believe that “recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”
“Just as physical education and physical fitness have well-recognized benefits for personal and academic performance, recess offers its own, unique benefits. Recess represents an essential, planned respite from rigorous cognitive tasks. It affords a time to rest, play, imagine, think, move, and socialize. After recess, for children or after a corresponding break time for adolescents, students are more attentive and better able to perform cognitively. In addition, recess helps young children to develop social skills that are otherwise not acquired in the more structured classroom environment. “
The American Academy of Pediatrics
<a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/1/183" rel="nofollow">http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/1/183</a>
Of course, the AAP is not alone. This 2014 policy brief from the CDC on Supporting Recess in Elementary Schools is pretty clear about their position on the subject as well.
“Recess provides students with a needed break from their structured school day. It can improve children’s physical, social, and emotional well-being, and enhance learning. Recess helps children meet the goal of 60 minutes of physical activity (PA) each day, as recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services. National organizations (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics) recommend that districts provide at least 20 minutes of daily recess for all students in elementary schools.”
<a href="http://www.bridgingthegapresearch.org/_asset/1d74y4/Supporting_Recess_Elementary_Schools_Oct_2014.pdf" rel="nofollow">http://www.bridgingthegapresearch.org/_asset/1d74y4/Supporting_Recess_Elementary_Schools_Oct_2014.pdf</a>
Thank you for considering the proposed legislation. It truly would be beneficial to the young children of our state.
For additional information and research supporting the value of recess for young students please view the following sources.
Recess and Social Development
Early Childhood News
Does Better Recess Equal a Better School Day? Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Recess – It’s Indespensable!
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
School Recess Offers Benefits to Student Well-being Stanford Report
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