Remember recess? The time where you would be able to go outside, play tag with your friends or check out the newest Pog a classmate acquired last night. Okay, maybe I'm dating myself a bit, but we can all agree that recess was a memorable moment of our school careers.
Recess is more than just a free break for kids to play. That unstructured play time allows kids to exercise which helps then focus better when they are in class.
One Texas school is taking a big risk, and the results have everyone talking.
Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas took the risk and has given kindergarten and first-grade students two 15-minute recess breaks every morning and two 15-minute recess breaks in the afternoon to go play outside. This is double of the traditional school structure of 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.
At first there were concerns about the lost classroom time and being able to cover all the material, but 5 months into the experiment teachers indicate that kids are actually learning more because they are better able to focus in class.
“There was a part of me that was very nervous about it,” said first-grade teacher Donna McBride. “I was trying to wrap my head around my class going outside four times a day and still being able to teach those children all the things they needed to learn.”
Now she says that students are not only paying better attention during class, but they are following directions better, attempting to learn more independently and solve problems on their own. There also have been fewer disciplinary issues as a result of the extra break.
Parents have also noticed a difference in their kids after this change. They say their children are being more independent at home and the extra recess has boosted their kids socially.
“You start putting 15 minutes of what I call reboot into these kids every so often and… it gives the platform for them to be able to function at their best level,” said Debbie Rhea, a kinesiology professor at Texas Christian University who created the project.
What do you think of the project? Do you wish your kid's school did this?