December 16, 2016
At Kent School recess is a part of every student’s day, every day. Research shows that recess is an important part of the day for elementary school age children. Of course, recess provides a break from class work and a time for children and teachers to get some fresh air and exercise. But recess is much more than that. The playground is where spontaneous games develop. Rules are created, changed and then thrown away.
Recess is where children overcome fears bit by bit, on their own. Conquering the monkey bars or reaching out to grasp the fire pole are real, personal triumphs. Recess can be about unbridled creativity. Just watch a child work intensely on the creation of a fairy house or stick fort using only what they can find around them.
During recess children start to learn some life skills they will surely need as adults. They learn to negotiate. Only four people can play four square at a time but six want to play. They figure out how to take turns every five minutes so everyone has a chance. They learn to compromise. If the line for tether ball is too long, they move on to something else.
Recess is about choices and patience and sometimes recess is about empathy. We have all seen a child feel left out of a game or be the last picked for a team. We are never more fulfilled than when another student steps in with a pat on the back or some words of simple encouragement. Those gestures, however small, move a child from exclusion to inclusion.
Recess is how we all learn that it is important to walk away from the desk, the work, the phone and just go have some fun for a little while. As we look forward to a few days off during this hectic holiday season give yourself some recess each day. Run, play, be unbridled in your creativity. Support others, choose empathy and inclusion and certainly your recess will be time well spent.
Read more about why recess matters in the following articles