Some schools are abandoning the concept of recess for even young children. Many have already cut it to only twenty minutes daily in order to accommodate the test obsession and age inappropriate common core lessons, while others have cut it entirely based on a child’s performance. The news this week announced that some districts have cancelled recess altogether. They aren’t keeping children from socialization, fresh air, and exercise only occasionally, they have outright taken it away for good. Parents are furious. What would you do?
One parent writes to our blog to discuss her own child’s run in with the recess monster, below
As the federal government continues to push harder for longer school days, those small segment breaks our children get become even more valuable. Recess…what every child looks forward to every day. Unstructured play, valuable socializing time, exercise, down time. These are perfectly normal activities for any elementary aged student. Our teachers and administrators are denying what comes naturally to our kids. Recess has become a negotiation tactic for teachers. If you don’t do XYZ, then there’s no recess today. I have overheard lunch monitors tell kids if they aren’t being quiet enough, recess will be taken away. What has become of these adults to treat our children like little soldiers? Breaks are particularly essential for children with special needs, in order to socialize and move their bodies around. They’re making days longer, work more age inappropriate and confusingly stressful. And simultaneously removing any access to a healthy, and needed, break from the madness.
My child was denied recess last year because she had to take a make-up math test. So my first questions was, why not administer the test another time? The teachers response “when else was I suppose to give her the test?” Huh? Really?! She went on to tell me that every math test is -read to- the children.
Come again? Yes, every 1st graders math test is read to them, you know, because they still don’t know how to read and every problem is a word problem. Does this make any sense? This is more evidence of the age Inappropriateness of this insane curriculum. The test must be read aloud so of course there is no time for a make up. Makes sense.
Thanks, common core.
Needless to say my children’s teachers this year have been well informed that they are not allowed to deny my children recess. Again today another parent mentioned to me that her child’s whole class was being denied recess because they didn’t get their work done. What if we denied teachers or janitors for that matter, their breaks because they didn’t perform? I would image the unions would step in. Well parents, our kids don’t have a union, so we are the ones that have to step in and advocate for our kids.
How much will you take?
Concerned parent, #stopcommoncore and #stopextendedlearning activist.
Above is a link about a district removing recess entirely, to accommodate common core. It is just gone. This new push of age inappropriate educational standards coupled with obsessive testing is leading to less and less common sense by those making rules, along with less time for children to be children. Extended hours at school, loss of recess, all popping up rampantly in the name of college and career readiness, and bucks for Pearson. Parents are upset about loss of recess. What will be asked of them next? To add hours onto the end or start of the school day in order to keep recess? Or to add a month to the school calendar in order to save the 20 minute time outside after lunch? It’s a pretty good guess that will be next “solution” from the USDOE and districts. ‘Want recess back? Then come to school at 7 and leave at 5pm, so we can get all the age inappropriate lessons pounded into the heads of these kids.’ It’s just one poor choice after another, with an even worse solution. Will parents cave on this? Some of these children are only a few years out of diapers. But, gotta be college and career ready! Where is the outrage? Many are incredulous. Are you one of them?
“The pressure for schools to improve student test scores is so intense that some are abandoning the childhood treasure of “recess” in lieu of more on-task time. Education World asked educators about recess practices at their schools and the importance of free time for kids to be kids. What might their responses tell you about the importance of recess at your school? Included: Tips for a safe and productive recess period.”
“Over the past century and a half, we’ve learned a great deal about child development. In spite of this, in recent decades the major thrust in U.S. public education has forced educators to behave more like Thomas Gradgrind than many would like to admit. For example, in response to the No Child Left Behind act, nearly half of all school districts in the country have shifted large chunks of time to math and reading instruction in order to improve student test scores. What’s been cut? Art, music, social studies and recess. The last has been particularly hard hit. On average, American kids get only 26 minutes of recess per day, including lunchtime — and low income kids get less than that.
No Child Left Behind requires that efforts to improve education be based on “rigorous scientific research.” However, nothing about the decline of school-based play is backed up by research. In fact, the benefits of play have been well-documented. There is strong evidence that school-based physical activity improves children’s cognitive skills, concentration and behavior, possibly by influencing their brain’s physiology.  At the same time, studies of “social and emotional learning” programs indicate that students do better socially and academically when they learn how to understand their emotions, empathize with others, and make good decisions.  Both of these processes are very much at work when children are playing well with others — which is why recess is a uniquely valuable resource — ”
“Parents should double check your district wellness policy and approach Principal and BOE to request that this draconian practice discontinue immediately as it is against child wellness. I would ask that they update the child wellness policy to include a provision that recess cannot be withheld for punitive reasons or academic reasons aong other things.
As discussed in my blog post, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that recess is a necessary component of the school day and should NEVER be taken away as a punishment. ”