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Will the removal of recess from our school systems prove to be detremental to the social progress of our children?

In 2004, the Bush Administration in an attempt to curb the growing fail rate of our youth, created what we know today as "No Child Left Behind." On the surface, it sounded great in that aimed to give our students a fighting chance against the rest of the world in education but there was one clause in NCLB that few people are aware of or talk about. That is the removal of the once famed, recess. A child's one hour of relaxation has been replaced by an added piece of curriculum. There are many known benefits to children being able to play together and in a society where technology is constantly altering the social dynamics, is it fair to assume this won't affect our future children from engaging in healthy social practices?

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    Jun 5 2013: Hi, I'll try and provide some insight. Being 16, I did just graduate a Kindergarten-Eighth grade school with cut recess time and eventually none. Recess was a fun time but never necessary. In fact, dawning on sixth grade I began questioning why we even have it. It was a waste of learning time and we already got exercise in during P.E. class. I personally began to wish we didn't have it.

    The school began cutting time for it and I saw no changes in the social behaviors of the kids. Social depriving is certainly no worry. There is plenty of time to socialize during school, excluding classtime. And interactions will never be cut off. There will always be after school activities which is where socializing mainly happens. Recess was just a time to talk about "omg did you see what happened at lunch" and such.

    All in all, I support recess removal.
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    Jun 17 2013: Your question makes a faulty assumption--that we need a relaxation period from learning. So, what assumption does that make of learning? It assumes that learning is a chore. It's not. Learning is a normal, natural, highly pleasurable experience. We are wired to learn. Exploring our environment is fun and the aha moment in the brain is an intrinsic reward that propels learning.

    Kids don't need a break from learning. Just watch them at play--drawing, running, creating, laughing and exploring things. Play is learning and true learning is play! What kids need a break from is education. Education (at least how it is normally conducted) is a systematic way to condition behaviors and responses. This systematized education does not produce deep learning, because it is inconsistent with how people are wired.

    So, the problem is not that kids need a break from learning. In truth, recess is a break from education. And, in the socialization and exploration of that break learning is occurring. Our model expects children to sit on their backsides and absorb what teacher has to say. It's a passive paradigm making the assumption they are sponges that need to absorb knowledge. We need to move to a more active paradigm--with more hands-on learning and interactivity. The more students become involved as active explorers, the more education begins to look like play.

    Just consider daydreaming. It's a way to escape into an internal environment that allows one to explore. When one is daydreaming they are not disengaging from learning. They're engaging in learning--in an active environment inside their head! Interesting that daydreaming was a key component of Einstein's exploration of physics! Could we consider his "daydreaming" learning? When kids need recess, it's not because they need a break from learning. Truth--they need recess when little learning is occurring.
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    Jun 16 2013: Re: "In 2004, the Bush Administration in an attempt to curb the growing fail rate of our youth, created what we know today as "No Child Left Behind."

    Let's start by getting the facts straight, "The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) is a United States Act of Congress that is a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which included Title I, the government's flagship aid program for disadvantaged students."

    The legislation was proposed by President George W. Bush on January 23, 2001. It was coauthored by Representatives John Boehner (R-OH), George Miller (D-CA), and Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH). The United States House of Representatives passed the bill on May 23, 2001 (voting 384–45),[6] and the United States Senate passed it on June 14, 2001 (voting 91–8).[7] President Bush signed it into law on January 8, 2002.

    Re: "but there was one clause in NCLB that few people are aware"

    WHAT CLAUSE? PLEASE POINT IT OUT FOR US. I'll don't think you will find any such "clause."

    "Since the advent of the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, some schools have been cutting or eliminating recess to spend more time teaching academics."

    Reports such as this one state: "Our excellent superintendent had the unenviable task of moving from one acrimonious evening meeting to another in the opening weeks of our school year, trying to explain why, since standardized-test scores haven't met the designated benchmarks, the schools have been mandated to eliminate morning recess and force the children to spend their midmorning time swotting up on their academic skills." but does not say who did the mandating.
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    Jun 4 2013: Where I live recess is still very much a part of grade school (through age 10 or 11). In middle school recess is combined with lunch. This is exactly how it was when I was secondary school over forty years ago. So there is no reduction. As you are writing from Atlanta, Corbin, I wonder whether there used to be recess independent of the after lunch periods in Atlanta prior to No Child Left Behind, or whether you are talking about the lower grades.

    In the middle of the last century, physical education was a requirement as one of six secondary school courses. Early in this century, schools were pretty lenient about giving "PE Waivers," if a students' family requested it so another course could be fit in- usually a music class. Now schools in my state are getting much stricter about requiring physical education, waving the requirement only if a child can demonstrate serious outside physical education commitments, like playing soccer in a league.

    So I wonder whether NCLB had any impact on time for physical recreation in the school day for secondary.

    If you mean absolutely free time in the secondary school day rather than time devoted to physical activity, there are other reasons schools may be worried about offering lots of free time during the school day, independent of the standard forty-five or fifty-five minute lunch period. Free periods need to be well supervised by adults in many settings in order to keep kids safe. In some schools, adults are very anxious about what can happen during the free times, even in passing between classes, whereas at other schools this is not a concern, I have noticed. So some of the vigilance may be about potential safety risks rather than curriculum.
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    Jun 4 2013: Mr President, i request...

    There should be classes between the recess.

    Younger the child longer should be the recess.
  • Jun 4 2013: Corbin,
    I had no idea! What an absurd idea!
    If there is one thing kids need, it is time to get their ya-yas out, get fresh air, build social skills, be alone if they need to, conquer obesity... Not to mention teachers, who also need that time to recharge!
    Recess is and should always be mandatory.
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      Jun 4 2013: hear, hear Lizanne. It is absurd . How long can an adult hold their attention with no breaks let alone a child?
      Clearly, after a period of time our attention to topic declines. A person may restore it by taking a rest, doing a different kind of activity or changing mental focus.

      Socializing ? A Huge part. I have to wonder if the people that come up with these mandate were ever educators and forget what it was like being a child!
      • Jun 4 2013: Thanks, Mary Ellen!
        Indeed, I wonder the same thing... perhaps it's convenient for them to forget, when things like power and money are at stake. To them, kids represent the future economy. They're budding consumers and laborers. No one was ever born wearing a suit and tie.
  • Jun 4 2013: Have you ever seem a fat kid? Also, most other countries do not pretend every kid is a candidate for a high school diploma and will go to college.