Make Recess a requirement in all preschool/elementary school districts
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The following articles contain information on the benefits and importance of recess on children's development in each of the following domains: Physical, Social, Emotional, and Cognitive Development.
Recess is being cut back and eliminated in many school districts in the United States.
Why does this matter?
Upon further research on this issue, I have found that this hinders children's growth and development. This not only affects growth and development, but studies have also shown that children are more likely to be more stressed, tired, and have a decreased attention span in classrooms. It has been proven that children who receive a period of recess show more attentiveness in class, academic tasks, and reduced disruptive behavior in school. It is important that we allow enough time for recess for children to develop critical skills such as cooperating, sharing, and solving problems. Children who participate in recess often show improved performance and their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills develop significantly. "Recess is a necessary break in the day for optimizing a child's social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development." (Murry, R. & Ramstetter, C). Families are also being affected by this because their children aren’t getting the resources they need to succeed in school. Children are coming home stressed, frustrated, and tired from sitting all day in the classroom because their recess is being cut back and eliminated to include a more demanding curriculum and emphasize on testing procedures with a focus to increase test scores and performance in the classroom. Communities are being affected because school districts are underperforming as a result of recess being eliminated from daily schedules in most schools. Protests and rallies can erupt in school districts from concerned parents, teachers, and staff as a result of recess being taken away from children. Hispanic/Latino, and Black/African American families from low economic backgrounds are being affected the most by this issue. These group of people are underrepresented, under resourced, and face inequity in education.
Taking away recess is making things more difficult for the achievement gap to close. If we want to see improvement in performance in classrooms, one solution is to provide more recess and free play for children. Intervention is needed at the earliest time possible to prevent further negative effects of children’s education being hindered. Intervention is needed now because when children don’t have a time of day for unstructured free play, they are missing out opportunities to develop social, physical, cognitive, and language skills that are essential to development and learning. Without recess, there is no improvement. Children need recess because it serves as a metal stress reliever and gives them a break to burn off some energy and build on critical life skills that is not taught in the classroom.
I want recess to become a requirement for all preschool/elementary school districts so that all children can develop skills essential for a successful education. Until that goal can be reached, I want to organize a task force of parents, teachers, principals, leaders, and involve members of the community to advocate for more time in schools for recess.
My target audience are the local and state elected official’s such as the mayor, senate, governor, and the school’s chancellor of New York City which hold administrative power in New York City Public Schools and the Department of Education. They have the power to make decisions and change current policies in schools. I want to work to influence their decisions to make recess a requirement across all school districts and make more time for recess so that children can be more physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively engaged in their school learning environment.
Me and my task force of parents, teachers, principals, school leaders, and members of the community will work together to advocate for more time in schools for recess by taking on different objectives. The goal is to get the attention of the local and state elected officials to make changes to the rules and policies in schools. Teachers can meet with principals and inform them of the change we want to see in schools; in this case, making recess a requirement and available for children. Teachers can also send out newsletters and invite parents to attend information sessions about the importance of recess. Parents can meet with local and state elected officials to push for policies that encourage recess as a requirement in schools. In addition, children can assist in the movement to push for new policies that make recess a requirement by creating signs and flyers. People will respond when they see that children are involved and affected due to this issue. Principals can organize events with school staff and work together during professional development meetings to implement new strategies and ideas to find more time in the school schedule to involve a period of recess/free play and finding a balance between work and play time.
My objective is to spread information by advertising my campaign on change.org. I will share my project with people from different media outlets and promote it by posting it on several social media and networking sites. I will use resources from my task force team to assist me in getting get the word out about recess for all. Stakeholders will be the ones who are helping run the entire operation. As aforementioned previously, our goal as a community/task force will be to gain the attention of the local and state elected officials to make changes to the rules and policies in schools that will allow for recess to become accessible to all children and made a requirement in preschools/elementary school districts. The mayor, senate, governor, and the school’s chancellor of New York City hold most of the administrative power in New York City Public Schools and the Department of Education. With this in mind, we can only try to get the attention of people in high positions of power to bring awareness to the representatives/elected officials of New York so that we can make the change we want to see in schools. We can only make this happen if we push for our goal and promote the campaign to make recess a requirement.
I am choosing to advocate for children’s recess because their education is being harmed due it being eliminated and cut back. Schools are putting more emphasis on testing, improving scores, and teaching a more demanding curriculum. Studies have shown that there are more negative consequences in performance and achievement in schools when this happens. Some results of this are children becoming more stressed, tired, and less attentive in class. Not only are children’s education being harmed but also their growth and development is being limited. Recess allows for children to develop critical skills such as cooperating, sharing, and solving problems. Children who participate in recess often show improved performance and their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills develop significantly. Without recess, children are missing out on opportunities to develop social, physical, cognitive, and language skills that are essential to development and learning. During recess children learn critical life skills that are not taught in the classroom. This topic impacts me as an early childhood educator because the children who will be coming into my classroom will not have the resources they need to be able to perform well in class because it is being taken away from them.
My fellow people, children are losing their freedom because it is being taken away from them by the schools due to the policy makers that cut back on their recess time to include more time for testing, and more emphasis on core subjects. The problem is that children’s growth, development, and education is being hindered due to these decisions by schools and policy makers. It is critical that we allow time for recess for children to develop important skills that are essential to development and their education. Families are also being affected by this because their children aren’t getting the resources they need to succeed in school. Communities are being affected because school districts are underperforming as a result of recess being eliminated from daily schedules in most schools. Intervention is needed at the earliest time possible to prevent further negative effects of children’s education being hindered. Intervention is needed now. Our children are missing out on opportunities to develop social, physical, cognitive, and language skills that are essential to development and learning. There is no improvement without recess. Recess is the only solution to seeing some positive changes in performance in class and behavior. If we want to see change, then we must all do our part in making this happen. I encourage you all whether you are a parent, teacher, principal, or anyone willing to put in effort to make the change we want to see in schools to come together as a community to try and mitigate the issues children are facing in schools. One potential solution we have is to get the local and state elected officials involved in decision making to make new rules. To do this we must follow through with the plan. Everyone must do their part in assisting to bring awareness. My project will be public for everyone to view and with a small contribution from everyone, we can help fund this project to help meet our goal to raise awareness so that we can make recess a requirement in all preschool/elementary school districts. We will be helping children and improving the education system by making this a reality. I need you all to sign the petition and spread awareness through professional developments, newsletters, information sessions, posters, and informing your school principals. Together we will be strong and powerful leaders and advocates for children in your schools and state fighting for a good cause.
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