Peaceful Playground Games Teach Collaboration on the Playground

Contributed by JC Boushh

A new podcast by Susan Engel, PhD., Katharine Beals, PhD and Sarah Garland titled “Are Schools Effectively Teaching Collaboration?” on BAM Radio asks the question are schools spending too much time on academics and missing the boat on socialization. As schools focus on increased academic performance and standardized test scores many schools are eliminating or reducing student’s recess time, but in reality this is have a negative effect on not only student’s academic performance, physical well-being, and social skills. 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. 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 daily life in which some children practice their social skills with their peers.

Recess allows children the opportunity to develop such social skills as ethical play behavior, problem solving, rulemaking, conflict resolution, and peer to peer interaction. Recess is a period of free play conducted outdoors, and is unstructured and undirected. Recess addresses a child’s physical health, mental health, social and cognitive developments. It is where children are allowed to choose their activity, activity levels, and degree of social interaction. It is during this unstructured play time that children best learn the ability to socialize and interact properly with their peers. Recess is one of the only periods of time during the school day that allows children the opportunity to interact with peers in a way not usually possible in the typical classroom.