The Benefits of Recess

There was an article in today’s Huffington Post regarding the positive benefits of recess for Black and Latino students.  You can read the article HERE.  Being a former elementary school teacher, I recall that recess could have positive and negative benefits.  I certainly appreciated my students being able to run around and “burn off some energy”, which often helped them to settle down and focus in class.  And as long as I wasn’t on duty, recess meant I got to run and make copies, make a phone call or a much needed bathroom break!  For that, I could tolerate the sweaty pre-teens that came back into my classroom

But recess also meant time for student interaction with little adult supervision.  Adults don’t typically get involved in making the rules for the games or conflict resolution until things escalate.  No teacher wants the fight that started on the playground to spill over into the classroom.

This article suggests that beyond the benefits of physical activity, students can be more prepared for class if they participate in recess.  Wouldn’t it be great if students could learn collaboration, organizational skills and conflict resolution AT RECESS?  Then bring those skills into the classroom for Project Based Learning and other small group activities.  Those are skills that need to be modeled for students.  Once learned, those skills will lend themselves to student learning for years to come.

Not knowing more details about the study, I’m guessing the research was targeting under-served populations.  Certainly there are issues around funding, and instructional contact hours that need to be addressed.  Someone needs to be there to supervise and instruct during recess.

Does your school still have recess?  Is it a help or a hindrance to what you’re doing in the classroom?



  1. Dr. Priscillae Burwell said:

    I know recess is that much needed break and social interaction that youth and teens need. I teach high school. I find someway of allowing my students a break within the ninety-minute block each day. I will send a restless student on an errand for me, allow them to listen to their music (their favorite) during independent work, five minutes on their favorite site (appropriate) or just “chill-in” for five minutes…I have a much better engaged student, more focus, productive work ethic and proficiency rate….

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