|Posted by Charles Fischer on December 8, 2010 at 11:00 AM|
I have decided to write a few blogs on the benefits of recess in order to give this topic enough leverage. There are numerous reasons to give children recess, just as there are many reasons for adults who exercise routinely by going to the gym after work, walking in the evenings, jogging in the mornings, or whatever. I think a lot of adults don't "feel like themselves" when they can't exercise or they miss a day at the gym. In my experience, they typically have less patience, less focus and concentration, and so.
The same is true with students, especially young children who must often sit all day and listen to directions, complicated ideas, multiple subjects and more. Recess would allow the kids to run around and get the exercise they need in order to clear their minds. Physical education programs are often down to twice a week, so perhaps as a compromise, schools could at least have recess on the off-days so that kids could have dedicated run around time every day of the week.
I once heard that the cardio-vascular threshold is 20 minutes. As it was explained to me, the idea is that the true benefits of exercise kick in at the 20 minute mark. If this is accurate, then schools need to realize that the actual recess itself should be at least 20 minutes, meaning probably 30 minutes total to account for transition time.
How important is this moving around time? Well, we bought a stand-up desk one year to have in the classroom just as an experiment. These desks are well engineered and even have a rocker bar at the bottom that fidgety students can play with. The students were allowed to get up during class and take turns at the standing desk. They reported better focus, better listening, and demonstrated better behavior. And that's just getting to stand up in class!