Friday, December 7, 2007

American Academy of Pediatrics: Make Play a Priority

A clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends counteracting increased stress with more play, “which is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.” Although play for children might seem intuitive, it is clear Americans must make play a priority in children’s lives.

While doctors are recommending that children spend more time playing, some schools are taking that time away. Currently, 2.2 million to 4.2 million first- through fifth-graders do not get any recess during their school day, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Schools are eliminating recess for several reasons. Some schools fear liability from injuries on the playground or lack the funding to pay for playground monitors. Barbara Carlozzi, an assistant professor at OSU and a certified school counselor, said that some schools are taking away recess to give teachers more time to prepare students for standardized tests. Carlozzi said schools are seeing increased pressure to perform on standardized tests and cover state-mandated curriculum.

“This huge pressure to test well is at the expense of other activities,” Carlozzi said.