Pediatric Authority Urges Schools Not to Cheat Kids out of Recess

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Ready or not, students return to the classroom this week. Kids who are going back grudgingly may soon find school a little more tolerable—especially those who routinely miss out on recess.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released a statement emphasizing the importance of daily recess, stating that it shouldn’t be dropped, substituted with physical education class, or taken away from students as a disciplinary measure. “We consider it essentially the child’s personal time and don’t feel it should be taken away for academic or punitive reasons,” said Dr. Robert Murray, co-author of the AAP statement.

The new statement from the pediatric authority comes on the heels of several studies touting the benefits of recess. One review of over a dozen studies on the subject concluded that students who get regular exercise from recess and other sources do better in school. But a widespread survey of 1,800 elementary schools found that up to one-third of students as young as 8 aren’t getting any recess.

Now students stuck inside all day every day, as well all those denied recess for goofing off in class or taking too long to finish class assignments, may be allowed to blow off some steam on the playground. That’s the good news. The bad news is that educators need to be made aware of the benefits of such a common sense practice. Here’s hoping they heed the advice.

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