By Christine Merle
There has been much writing circling around education forums lately around the idea of recess – specifically, ending the practice of taking away recess as a consequence. We know from the American Academy of Pediatrics that “recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom” and that “safe, well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits” to children that are key to their development. Taking away recess is not proven to change behavior, and it can actually exacerbate challenges with students who truly need that time as an emotional and physical escape.
But it’s tough. We hear from so many educators that they need that card in their back pocket, they need to be able to use recess as a lever to get their class to behave. It serves as a simple equation kids can understand: “if we don’t get our work done, we can’t go out for recess.” With so many other struggles that teachers face, how can we also ask them to give up that trump card?
“I asked an administrator about needing more counselors available and not just for college stuff and I was told that schools are businesses and we need to remember that.”
The student voice. It’s something we hear about so often – how important it is for adults to make space to listen to student perspectives and genuinely engage with their realities. Of course, this is easier said than done. Even with the best intentions, student forums may easily be pushed aside due to time constraints, dwindling attendance, or changes in leadership.
It was the best of games . . . it was the worst of games . . .
Travel with me to a nearby soccer field – choose any one that you like as they are all pretty much full this time of year. Picture two teams of adolescent girls warming up with their teammates, running, stretching, taking shots on goal, with easy banter and laughter catching the breeze. They represent girls not looking for scholarships or hopes of college play, just some extra practice with the ball, physical activity in a game they love, and time with friends.