Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Too Many Snow Days Equals Too Little Recess????

Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools administrators recently received backlash from parents for their plan to shorten recess to make up for instructional minutes lost due to snow days.

It seems that after reviewing a variety of plans to capture lost minutes from snow days they decided that cutting recess by 15 minutes and lengthening the school day by 5 minutes was the best solution for making up the 20 hour deficit they are now facing.  But the recess time is not coming from the lunch schedule because teacher contracts require a 30 minutes uninterrupted lunch break.

School officials said recess is currently between 20 to 30 minutes daily.   That means that students are left with a 5-15 minute recess.  A 5 minute recess is not feasible and would not even allow time for a break to use the restroom and get a drink in most schools. Let's face it.  Who has a 30 minute morning recess?  I'm not aware of anyone unless it is the previously discussed lunch time. 

Clearly, sometimes rules are made to be broken.   Let's hear it for the 500 parents who signed a petition and started a facebook page in protest.  The School Board meeting is Tuesday, February 18th at 7pm.  I'll keep you posted.

Here's some articles that speak to the importance of recess and why kids should be moving more not less:
 1. Why Recess Makes Kids Smarter, and 2.  Physical Activity: Making the Case for Kids Moving More.  The article Recess is on the Upswing is another article on recess that explains why schools are adding minutes not taking recess minutes away.

Finally, please, someone download the FREE Right to Recess Campaign Toolkit and present administrators with the cold hard facts that recess is a critical part of the school day and contributes to academic success.