To The Reader's Forum:
I coordinate the Tri-County Healthy School NY Program. When asking school administrators to include mandatory daily recess for grades K-6 in their wellness policies, the response I often get is "How can I tell parents I'm giving their kids more time to play, when our test scores aren't where they should be?" Mandatory daily active recess isn't just time to play. According to New York State's Obesity Prevention Center, DASH-NY, school based physical activity, such as recess, can improve students' attention, concentration, and ability to stay on task. Classroom behavior can be improved and free play during recess stimulates children's imaginations as well as fostering critical thinking skills.
In addition, recess can also provide psychosocial benefits to students. During recess children gain skills in conflict resolution by playing with their peers, learning how to share, and collaborating around games. Physical activity is also known to help mitigate depression and anxiety in children. Therefore, time spent being physically active during recess promotes the development of social skills in addition to providing health benefits and enhancing cognitive functioning as well as academic performance.
So parents, tell your child's school administrators you know recess isn't just time to play, but an integral part you academic success.