The Growing Trend of Eliminating Recess

Contributed by JC Boushh

East Providence Elementary School, Rhode Island eliminates recess for its elementary students to make time for a more comprehensive physical education program. In laymen’s terms out with free-play and in with Marine Corp. calisthenics. National statistics on recess indicate that approximately 50% of children are not getting recess in the United States public school system. Some of the reasons given for eliminating recess include No Child Left Behind (emphasis on academics), liability increasing, and supervision disciplinary issues during recess time.

Many school districts across the country are reducing or eliminating time devoted to recess due in part to increasing school and teacher accountability for student performance on state mandated standardized tests and the belief that time is more wisely spent on academics. More recently, since 1990, 40 percent of the nation’s 16,000 school districts have either modified, deleted, or are considering deleting recess from the daily elementary school schedule due to increased pressure from numerous sources to improve achievement. (American Association for the Child’s Right to Play, 2000)

According to Skrupskelis (2000) the phenomenon of reducing time for recess has no credible research to back it up, and is actually counterproductive to increasing the academic achievement of students.

How You Can Support the Value of Recess:

· Talk to PTA Board Members & Principal.

· Write letter to school board.

· Write letter to local newspaper editor.

· Learn more about the Value of Recess.

· Talk to your neighbors & Legislators.

Recess and Free-play affects the personality, character, and abilities of every child, and therefore greatly influences the type of adults they become (This may be the only setting in a child’s daily life for some children to practice their social skills with their peers)