by MARIAH MARTINEZ
Recess is the best time of the day in elementary school (next to lunch, of course). It is a time for children to create their own games, test their abilities, and other activities that are key to developing social skills.
Anyone can benefit from a break. According to Rae Pica, author of the article “Why Kids Need Recess”, “research [shows] back [in] the late 1800s it indicates that people learn better and faster when their efforts are distributed, rather than concentrated”. When working over a long period of time, the brain shuts down into sleep mode, and it’s harder to gain back focus.
Learning every standard at once is overwhelming for any kid. Although there are (few) kids that can concentrate longer than others. A majority of students can’t stay awake and be engaged from 8 in the morning to around 12 without a break in between.
Natural daylight is good for kids. They need fresh air; it improves their wellness. Based on Rae Pica’s research, she says, “sunlight stimulates the pineal gland, which is the part of the brain that helps regulate [the] biological clock”. It also triggers the synthesis of Vitamin D, and numerous studies have demonstrated Vitamin D increases in academic learning and productivity.
Recess can also relieve stress from teachers. Teachers would not feel so overthrown by the mass of students they have. This especially helps if they get the rough patch of kids that don’t tend to listen very well or don’t have the will to work.
Finland has a highly ranked school system. Finnish kids get more than an hour of recess each day. Even China–the nine hour schools days and weekend cram sessions– give their students 10 to 20 minutes after each class. Keeping recess in the US school system can only help us, not hurt us.