Say Yes to Recess

Ed Week ran a story called, "Say Yes to Recess"
The following is a response from a CA Physical Educator who addressed the many benefits of recess.

Being free to make choices and to play is absolutely necessary to children as they develop social skills, which todays children seem to lack, as well promoting creativity. Only play/exercise truly develops these skills, at a young age.

The neuro-scientists have been telling us, for some time now how fundamentally important play and exercise are to neurogenesis, brain health and cognitive development. Paying attention to the science is something long overdue.

There are two things that elementary teachers, supervisors, administrators should be doing during recess: 1. seeing that relative safety practices are in place. That means bullying, in particular is not allowed to take place. 2. They should encourage children to find some activity that they can do. Something vigorous is good~~it puts students into an improved state of learning readiness, but even walking and talking for 20 or 30 minutes is valuable, and should be promoted.

Physical education classes should focus on teaching individual skills, health and fitness, lifelong activities. Team sports should be included, but teams should be small so that everyone is active the entire time, and the question(s) at the end of the period shouldn't be "Who won?", but "Did you get a good workout" and "Did you have fun?"

Joe Herzog, Fresno California
Retired after 36 years of being a physical educator (not a "gym" teacher, thank you!)