Some schools let recess and lunch compete for time, telling students they can play after they eat. Students should not be forced to gobble down lunch (or skip lunch) to ensure they have enough time to play. Recess needs its own dedicated time.
And too often, recess is wrongly used as a tool for discipline. Holding kids out of recess for bad behavior in a classroom robs students of positive physical activity that improves their health and leads to improved behavior in the classroom. This can damage their self-esteem and impede their academic success. Students, especially those furthest away from educational justice and students who aren’t “achieving” like their peers, benefit significantly from recess because all kids have talents!
Unfortunately, the amount of recess students receive across the state varies district by district and even school by school. We’ve seen schools struggling to improve standardized test scores cut back on recesses to provide more instructional time. Classroom educators know this isn’t an effective strategy. Lack of movement and peer interaction takes away more instructional time than an additional 15 minutes of recess because of managing little bodies and minds to do things most adults cannot do in their normal workday.