The Value of Recess

The Value of Recess
Posted on 01/29/2020
We’ve all been there, asking our students what their favorite part of school was, to find out their answer was “recess.”  I frustrated my mother with this exact answer when I was in elementary school. This time allowed for me to have free play with my friends and participate in activities I found fun, which is why for a long time, I found recess as the best part of my day! As an elementary educator, I have found there are many benefits of recess for our students, including their cognitive, emotional, physical, and social well-being. 

As an adult, I find that I need breaks throughout the day to stay mentally sharp. The same is true for our students as well. They need a cognitive break to disengage and rest their minds several times throughout the long school day. Several studies have shown that when students return from recess, they are more attentive and more productive. 

Teachers throughout the district also use “brain breaks” to help students remain engaged in the content. Brain breaks often involve students standing, moving around, and even completing fun physical activity for several minutes each day. These breaks, along with recess, give students the necessary time to process cognitively, and it also helps with academic performance. 

Recess also offers social and emotional learning as well as providing cognitive benefits. Recess allows for students to engage in peer interactions in which they can practice essential social skills. When students play at recess they are learning valuable communication skills, including cooperation, sharing, and problem solving. One skill that many employers value most from employees is teamwork. Recess gives students the opportunity to work together and learn the value of teamwork in a variety of ways. These are lifelong skills that all people need to be successful in their career. 

The idea that children need to be physically active has been proven in studies over the years and continues to be an area of intense debate. Students have the opportunity to be active in a variety of ways and to practice motor skills. When observing recess at Mexico Schools, students can be seen playing a variety of games such as: kickball, basketball, four-square, jump rope, etc. Each of the elementary schools also has state-of-the-art recess equipment that allows students to practice motor skills.

The next time you ask your child what their favorite part of the day was, and get the common response “recess,” you can rest assured that they are choosing a very important part of the day. At recess, students practice several skills, such as teamwork and problem solving and also improved their overall well-being. The many benefits recess offers our students, including improving their cognitive, emotional, physical, and social well-being helps ensure they are successful both in school and out.