According to a new study published in the February 2009 Pediatrics journal, there is a strong connection between recess time and elementary students’ good classroom behavior, the Washington Post reports. Many students aren’t getting recess time due in part to No Child Left Behind consuming more classroom hours.
This, says Romina M. Barros, who published the study, needs to change. “When we restructure our education system, we have to think that recess should be a part of the education system…if they could have 15 minutes indoors. Unstructured time, that’s all they need.”
Barros and her colleagues looked at a database of nearly 11,000 8- and 9-year-olds. The children were divided by the amount of recess they had each day ranging from some to none or minimal (0-15 minutes per day).
Students with more recess time behaved better in the classroom.
According to Jane Ripperger-Suhler, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science and pediatrics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, students build social skills during recess time. “Conflict resolution is solved on the playground, not in the classroom”
Students from disadvantaged communities often have less recess time. Barros’ study found that the “30 percent of children who had no or only minimal breaks were more likely to be black, from households with lower incomes and lower education levels, to be living in the Northeast or South, and to be attending urban public school.”