National Study Finds Kids Who Have Recess Behave Better in Class

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The Washington Post’s Amanda Gardner caught up with Dr. Romina M. Barros, who “has now published a study in the February issue of Pediatrics documenting the value of recess: Children who have it during the day behave better in class.”

Barros: “When we restructure our education system, we have to think that recess should be part of the education system, and if we have to get more help, we’ll have to get more help. Even if we don’t have space, if they could have 15 minutes indoors. Unstructured time, that’s all that they need.”

Left Behind? Gardner noted that “although it’s unclear how much recess children in the United States are getting, some studies have documented a dramatic decrease, and this study reported that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has resulted in less recess for many children.”

Barros explained, “They started to find out that kids in the U.S. were not doing well compared to other countries and started penalizing schools when kids weren’t passing the state test. That’s when schools [started to cut recess] not only because of space, but also because they wanted to put more in academics.”

Meanwhile, Gardner added that recess “is recommended at least once a day, for 20 or more minutes.” Physical activity “should also be part of this time.”

Barros’ study “looked at a national database of about 11,000 8- and 9-year-olds” (Amanda Gardner, Washington Post, 1/26). Read the entire article from the Washington Post