Recess revoked from the youth of today

Isabelle Kaneza

By: Isabelle Kaneza 

In the past year, Florida has implemented the Common Core education program into their public schools’ curriculum. This new method of learning has been debated since the math and English standards of the Common Core were proposed on June 2, 2009.

The agenda, requiring students to to complete an extensive number of national standardized tests, as a result has caused less classroom time for teachers to teach lessons.

Because of limited class time, teachers have resorted to cutting back on their students’ dearest moment of the day: recess. This is where things begin to take a turn for the worse because recess, in fact, is a vital piece of a child’s learning experience.

The obvious benefit of recess is physical health. At least 60 minutes of physical activity is required for children, and with recess in the equation, students can meet that requirement on school grounds. This physical activity can help prevent obesity, lower blood pressure, reduce risks of cardiovascular disease, and simply put a child in a pleasant mood for the rest of the day.

Not only is recess beneficial to students’ physical well being, but research shows that recess is a necessary tool for a child’s cognitive and character development. Positive social interaction between peers during recess builds a strong foundation of positive self-esteem for years to come. Moreover, recess allows for transition time between subjects, letting the brain absorb what has been learned and “make room” for what is to come. As a result, the breaks may lead to better retainment and eventually, increased test scores.

Unfortunately, administrators and teachers disregard this information because they care more about the competitive grants received from the government’s $4.5 billion Race to the Top initiative. Gradually, slots allotted for recess are being replaced with in-class learning time which soon will only be replaced with declining health and cognitive abilities in students, and, if patterns do not change, will lead to a declining generation.