From Liz Atwood: When kids start middle school, they notice one thing right away: There is no recess. They have gym class, but unstructured playtime is left behind in elementary school.
But a new statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents and teachers to recognize the importance of recess for children and adolescents. The doctors say kids need a break from the academics and physical education classes cannot compensate for the freedom of recess. They go on to say that recess should never be taken away as punishment.
I’m sure teachers cringe at the idea of allowing middle school students to run around without structure in their day. Imagine the peer pressures, bullying and raging hormones that might run amuck during recess. Besides, the kids have so much to learn. But as the academic challenges increase, students may need time to work out issues with friends (and enemies).