For the most part, schools tend to offer recess for children once a day around lunchtime. Oftentimes, the scheduling of recess relies on the weather, indoor space, and other scheduled school activities, but at Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, recess knows no bounds.
At Eagle Mountain Elementary, kids have several recess sessions: The youngest kids at this school now enjoy two 15-minute breaks in the morning and two in the afternoon. That makes for a total of one hour of recess a day, which is three times longer than they used to get.
The faculty and the staff were anxious about enforcing the change, but they have found that increased recess time has actually improved their students’ overall performance. They also found that their students are more focused and less fidgety, contrary to what most will think when giving kids too many breaks, that they would lose focus.
The secret behind this success?
According to Debbie Rhea, a kinesiology professor at Texas Christian University, allowing kids time to run around, play, and be generally active can help children focus better once they’re back in class. Rhea is actually the creator of LiiNK, a new program that boosts the amount of recess for the youngest students. The goal of the program is to allow kids the time to “reboot”, helping them function at their best level.
With lessened activity, children are more likely to become fidgety, impatient, and even to misbehave. By allowing kids to release their excess of energy in a healthy and positive manner, issues that teachers normally face are less likely to occur or affect their students.
The idea of “rebooting” is not a foreign one. Have you ever been told that taking breaks while studying or working can actually help increase your productivity as well as your brain’s ability to intake and retain information? Much of the same principles apply. By allowing kids to take a break and move around, they are more likely to willingly devote their attentions to more sedentary activities while also gaining more from the experiences overall.
Staying active has benefits when it comes to health, as well, which is a major concern for American children in particular. Putting more of a positive emphasis on recess can help to encourage more active lifestyles and healthy living while also improving a child’s overall academic performance.
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