Mandate Recess in Public Schools in NYS

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Children in NYS are required to receive 120 minutes of physical education (PE) per week, however they are not required to receive any recess. While physical education is very important, free, unstructured play is also vital to a child's growth and development. 

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that children receive 60 mins. of physical activity daily. With PE requirements, they are only receiving 24 mins (if every minute of PE is actual physical activity). Many children are not afforded the opportunity to have free time at home due to a variety of reasons. Because school is where children spend most of their time, and there is access to places for free play here, children should have the opportunity to have a break from the classroom for free time. 

Recess offers many benefits, ranging from better health and wellness, to better attention in the classroom, social and emotional growth, and the development of better problem-solving skills. 

It is thought that more class time = better test scores. However, studies have shown that a breaks increase attention and productivity in the classroom. There are 6 states that have recess requirements, and each of these states has better test scores than NYS. 

Lastly, how important are the test scores anyways? Does a numerical score really define a person? Or, should we be promoting a balance between academic learning and real-life experience learning. Recess offers this real-life experience, allowing children to practice sharing, regulating their emotions, directing their own learning, discovering their interests, and developing friendships and communication skills that will be essential to everyday interactions in society. 



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