On June 23, the OCPS School Board unanimously passed a resolution encouraging 20 minutes of daily recess for all OCPS elementary schools. The resolution does not mandate recess, instead, it leaves the decision up to teachers and administration about whether or not to provide recess. However, it does recommend 20 minutes of daily recess, at least on days when students do not have a physical education class.
The approval of the recess resolution is an excellent example of the power of a parent’s voice. Last year, parents who were upset abut the lack of recess in OCPS elementary schools joined together to launch a recess petition drive. Through a successful social media campaign, education, and presentations to the school board, all OCPS elementary students will now have increased opportunities for unstructured play through recess.
The Center for Disease Control provides the following information on recess in “Strategies for Supporting Recess in Elementary Schools” (May 2014). Click here to reference this CDC document.
Recess provides students with a needed break from their structured school day. It can improve children’s physical, social, and emotional well-being, and enhance learning. Recess helps children meet the goal of 60 minutes of physical activity each day, as recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services. National organizations (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics) recommend that districts provide at least 20 minutes of daily recess for all students in elementary schools.
OCPS offers this webpage with five facts about recess in OCPS elementary schools.
Congratulations to the OCPS for approving this resolution. Recess can play an important role in building healthy kids; healthy kids make better students and better students make healthy communities.