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Back to June Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 149 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JUNE 1998
Many Schools Are Saying Goodbye To Recess Time
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ATLANTA, GA - Eliminating recess periods from the school day is a new trend that is catching on at some public elementary schools. The large Atlanta school district has instituted the policy and is building new elementary schools without playgrounds. Recess-free schools can also be found in other states, including Illinois, New York and Virginia. In the Philadelphia School District, recess periods are used for "socialized" activities that are structured and monitored by adults.

Educators cite the pressures to improve academic performance as the chief reason for canceling recess, though fear of lawsuits from injuries on the playground is also a factor. Other educators say parents want too many classes offered outside the normal range of academics, leaving little time for recess.

Child development experts and parents are deeply concerned about the removal of play time from the school day. Experts say children need unstructured play for "intellectual and emotional growth," and that this type of peer interaction helps them learn to negotiate and cooperate with each other naturally. They point out that elementary-school children should not be expected to sit for long periods without a break to release pent-up energy, and that physical activity is sorely needed by children who go home to empty houses, lock themselves in, and sit in front of television sets and computers until their parents come home from work.

Many see the elimination of recess as another step in the ever-increasing organization of children's lives beginning at birth. One parent noted that adults already set the agenda for children throughout the day, and that recess should be the time kids set the agenda.


 
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