Pediatricians stress value of recess for schoolchildren

Schools across country shorten, eliminate recess

MADISON, Wis. - As more schools across the country shorten or eliminate recess, American pediatricians are weighing in on the benefits of recess for schoolchildren.

Three states, Delaware, Virginia, and Nebraska, require elementary schools to hold daily recess.

But now, the country's top pediatricians are arguing that it's important for more children to get recess during the school day.

Laurel Pierick, who teaches first grade at Our Redeemer Lutheran School, said she sees the benefits of recess for her students.

"They have a lot of energy, and it helps them to focus when they get back into the room," Pierick said. "So they really need to get out here and move around."

The students at Our Redeemer Lutheran School enjoy three recess times, totaling 60 minutes of the school day.

"You get all your energy out during recess so you feel a lot better in class," said Payton, a fourth-grader at the school.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement calling recess "a crucial and necessary component of a child's development," which should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.

Exercise physiologists at St. Mary's Hospital said children need recess now more than ever.


"I think if you take away that recess, that's all the exercise activity they're going to get." said Sara Burie, exercise physiologist for St. Mary's. "Especially with all this technology, kids just don't move anymore."

Numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics show nearly three-quarters of U.S. elementary schools hold less than 30 minutes of recess, and about 10 percent have no scheduled recess.

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