School Without Recess Is a Big, Fat Waste of Time

playground swingsFINALLY! I have been saying for years that school is not just about academics. And now a group of doctors agrees with me. The American Academy of Pediatrics has come out to say -- get this -- recess is just as important as class time.

Got that? They're not just saying that recess is important because, really, DUH. They are saying that recess = class time.


It's a biggie, and I, for one, feel like doing back-flips and somersaults over here in celebration. Maybe even pulling out the dregs of champagne left from the new year's celebration.

The docs at the AAP say recess is a time when kids get a break from "complex cognitive challenges ... They tend to be less able to process information the longer they are held to a task."

I'll go one further. I think that break time is when the OTHER learning happens. I know I'll be criticized for saying it, but I don't believe school is simply a place for kids to learn academics.

I don't just send my kid to school so she will learn to multiply huge sums and spell words the size of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I want all that, naturally. I can't multiply huge sums, so someone else is going to have to teach her!

But I also send her to school so she'll learn to survive in the wild world that exists beyond the comfort of my home.

I want her to learn that if you're bossy to your friends, they will take their toys and go play with someone else. I want her to learn that if you climb to the top of the slide and decide to go down head first, you better be quick with your hands, or you're in for one heckuva bump on the nose at the bottom.

Sure, we can tell our kids these things until we are blue in the face. I know I have. But nothing tones down a little kid's bossiness like having another kid turn tail and run across the playground away from them because they won't let anyone else get a word in edgewise. Nothing.

What do you think? Is recess AS important as class time for your kids?


Image via aka Kath/Flickr

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