Study: Recess is critical

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:01 PM

Sandra Smits, principal of Holmes Elementary School, said research showing the importance of recess has been one of the reasons for a makeover of the Spring Lake school’s playground. She said it is designed to provide students with a variety of activities they can participate in with friends.

Each school day, Smits said Holmes students have a scheduled 15-minute recess and another during their lunchtime.

“We know from research that recess is a necessary and important break for our students that can optimize social, emotional, physical and cognitive development,” she said. “Recess time also promotes a healthy lifestyle, as well as the emotional benefits of play and peer interaction.”

Jeffers Elementary School Principal Shelley Peets said the pediatricians' statement reaffirms what they’ve known all along — that recess is important. The student handbook for the Spring Lake school states that recess is “an extremely important physical and emotional break in the day of elementary students.”

“I think it helps them re-focus during the day,” Peets said.

Kevin Blanding, principal of Rosy Mound Elementary School, said recess and less-structured academic time is important for providing students opportunities to make choices, engage in social interactions and learning to solve problems.

“These are wonderful for large motor skills, as well as for developing a love of healthy activities,” he said. “... Recess is a rich physical and social time for children."

Smits said recess isn’t the only break for Holmes students. She said teachers make sure there are “brain breaks” during the day to let students rest as they prepare for the next activity. It could be a snack break, whole body break or singing.

“The teachers continuously monitor their students and know when they need a break,” Smits said.

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