Curriculum and Professional Development

Say Yes to Recess

We are on the right track with recess everyday with our students.  Learn more about the benefits of recess on elementary students:

from the website

Say “Yes” to Recess

Allison Behne

Research shows that children need recess. Yet withholding recess is often used as a punishment for less than expected behavior. However, punishments are not effective strategies for managing behaviors. In fact, when I try to think of a classroom behavior that would warrant the removal of a recess, I struggle to find one.

I believe that children generally want to do well and follow expectations. They need us to give them the benefit of the doubt and support them in their quest to do right. Will there be times the behavior is intentional? Yes. And when that happens, we can confer about the behavior we are noticing, figure out what is causing it, and have the consequence be directly related.

Think about the following scenarios:

  • A student who gets so excited about what he is learning that often when he has the opportunity to collaborate, he gets a little loud. He is usually not off task or obnoxious, but his voice carries. Can he be reminded about his voice level? Absolutely. Should he miss recess because of it? No.
  • The classroom that was declared “out of control” when many students were talking and unfocused. Were they all out of control? If they were, why? It may be time to reflect on classroom management and revisit some instructional practices.
  •  A student who during quiet work time answered a question a peer asked. She didn’t want to go against the expectations, and she didn’t want to ignore her classmate. What should she have done? She may need coaching to help her know what would be considered desirable behavior if she finds herself in that situation again.

It takes more effort on our end to get to the root of the behavior, but the final result is happy students who don’t miss the chance to be physically active, socialize, and reset their brains for more learning. “No recess for you” should turn into, “Enjoy recess and return to class prepared to learn.”

Interested in reading more on the benefits of recess? Here are a few articles and a short book to get you started.

Is Recess Important for Kids or a Waste of Time?

7 Things to Know About School Recess

The Importance of Recess: Why Schools Need More Play Time

The Importance of Recess for Children with ADHD

No More Taking Away Recess and Other Problematic Discipline Practices