this Today.com piece about four Texas schools that upped the number of recesses for their kids — with fantastic results — made my stomach clench. I thought back to my sons’ grammar school, which had only 20 minutes a day of recess, and took even that away when the kids were “acting out.” In other words — when the kids needed it the most.
So here’s to the schools in Fort Worth, TX, for heeding the clarion call of Liink, an incredible group dedicated to promoting 4 recesses a day — two 15 minute breaks in the morning and two in the afternoon. It calls recess “the forgotten classroom” where kids learn creativity, problem solving, even honor and integrity. Oh — and their academic achievement goes up, too.
At Eagle Mountain Elementary, Today.com writes, “The children always go outside to play games or use the swings and slides, even if it’s drizzly or cold.”
Result? First grade teacher Donna McBride reports:
“I was trying to wrap my head around my class going outside four times a day and still being able to teach those children all the things they needed to learn.”
Some five months into the experiment, McBride’s fears have been alleviated. Her students are less fidgety and more focused, she said. They listen more attentively, follow directions and try to solve problems on their own instead of coming to the teacher to fix everything. There are fewer discipline issues.
“We’re seeing really good results,” she noted.
Parents are seeing them, too.
The program is getting noticed spreading to more schools this coming fall.
Oh, and over at the public elementary school my kids attended, the principal and PTA have since taken a hard look at the studies showing that homework serves no actual purpose for young kids. And so, last year, they decided to banish traditional forms of it. Now kids can get their homework points by doing things like “playing in the park” or “eating dinner with family.” Shout out to Principal Jane Hsu and Assistant Principal Gary Shevell.
Change can happen. Tag — you’re it!