|NUMBER 308||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||SEPTEMBER 2011|
|'Brain Breaks' Replace Recess|
In one recent instance, kindergarten teachers in Wichita, Kansas were informed that the new school schedule would allow only one 20-minute recess at lunch. Under the revised schedule, students will devote three hours to reading and language, and one and a half hours to math. Kindergarten teachers are allowed to give "brain breaks" totaling up to 15 minutes per day as needed, but these only last two-to-five minutes each, and do not achieve the same effect as a longer outdoor recess. In total, the five- and six-year-old students will only get up to 35 minutes of recess in their seven-hour school day.
One kindergarten teacher who received the schedule said, "They say we can take breaks, but I look at this schedule and think, 'When?' If we do everything we're supposed to do, there's very little time — no time, really — to get them outside to play and run around."
Although some of these young children could benefit from a nap as well as recess, the state has different priorities for them. In an attempt to raise standardized test scores, Wichita schools are implementing a new reading curriculum called Read Well that will increase academic pressure on kids not yet in the first grade. (Associated Press, 8-5-11)