Recess was the time of the school day when kids could run free and enjoy themselves. Hopscotch, tag and monkey bar prowess were out in full force – and elementary school students could relax from the rigors of the school day. However, a movement is growing to abolish recess. Instead of having fun, kids could be in class learning; and lawsuits from recess mishaps are a growing, and expensive, trend.
Such reasoning overlooks the merits of recess, an invaluable time of the day for developing children’s creativity and social skills. How many of us have fond memories of counting down the minutes until recess? the amazing games we created? the challenge to see who could get the swings as high as possible?
Children should have time to be outside and active, especially in a culture of desk-sitters and couch potatoes. Time out of the direct auspices of teachers and the regimen of the classroom gives kids a chance to decide what they’d like to do – and invent their own entertainment.
Elementary school years are for forming friendships, building confidence and finding direction in a young selfhood. Schools should not become so caught up in standardized tests, long division and well-formed handwriting that childhood loses its unique charm.