What Recess Should Look Like

Kickball, tag and swinging across the monkey bars may be the highlight of your child’s day for more reason than one, but experts say recess is also critical for your students health.

Recess is a planned time within the school day for free play and supervised physical activity. Recess is a very important part of the school experience for students because it can increase physical activity and it helps them practice life skills such as cooperation, following rules and communication. Recess also helps improve classroom behavior such as paying attention and memory.

Recess benefits students by:

  • Increasing their level of physical activity
  • Improving their memory, attention, and concentration
  • Helping them stay on-task in the classroom
  • Reducing disruptive behavior in the classroom
  • Improving their social and emotional development (e.g., learning how to share and negotiate)

While there’s no law or statewide policy to dictate how schools manage recess within their school day, recent guidance aims to help schools make the most of recess.

Schools should create recess policies including the following strategies:

  • Prohibit using recess as a replacement for physical education classes
  • Let kids go to recess before lunch
  • Prohibit excluding kids from recess as a form of punishment
  • Prohibit restricting physical activity during recess as a form of punishment

Some of those strategies are easier to implement than others, but they are all realistic for South Dakota schools!

Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention