Rethinking Recess: What are the Benefits?

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In early 2009, researcher Romina Barros of Einstein CollegeĀ  found that third grade students who had at least 15 minutes of recess every day behaved better in the classroom than their peers who did not get daily recess.

A safe and healthy recess has tremendous potential, not only to get our children more physically active, but also to support social and emotional learning, preempt bullying and develop the invaluable “soft skills” our kids need to become thriving adults. Through play, students learn teamwork, cooperation, empathy and more.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) underscores the benefits of learning these critical skills. Students who receive social-emotional learning instruction, such as teaching skills for safe and inclusive play at recess, have more positive attitudes in school and improved academic achievement.

Recently, Mathematica Policy Research and Stanford University’s John Gardner CenterĀ  released the results of a randomized control study which found that investing in recess and organized play can prevent bullying, improve students’ behavior at recess and their readiness for class, and provide more time for teaching and learning.

Developing a safe and healthy recess may take time, but the effort is clearly worth it to develop students who are not only more physically active, but also have improved social and emotional skills, feel that they’re a more connected part of the community, experience less bullying and exclusionary behavior and receive more class time.


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