Hooray for Recess!

"Safe and properly supervised recess offers children cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits," the statement said. "It should be used as a complement to physical education classes, not a substitute, and whether it's spent indoors or outdoors, recess should provide free, unstructured play or activity. The AAP recommends that recess should never be withheld as a punishment, as it serves as a fundamental component of development and social interaction that students may not receive in a more complex school environment."

The above quote appeared in the American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statement that was recently released.  (A link to the full article on the CBS News website is here:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57561430/recess-a-crucial-part-of-school-day-says-american-academy-of-pediatrics/ ) 

I could not agree more.  Play is so fundamental to who we are as human beings and to how we learn.  It forms the basis for physical ability, mental acuity, social competence and emotional intelligence.  

That being said, schools often cut recess when their budgets are cut.  While many families are able to supplement recess time with adult directed activities such as swimming, martial arts, sports, dance, gymnastics, music, etc., the crucial skills that recess builds are not always addressed during these activities.  Other families, due to work schedules, limited family funds, or other reasons, are not as able to provide these activities.  It has become such an issue in this country that even entities such as the National Football League are promoting their "Play 60" advertisements.  When I was a kid (okay, here I go on the way back machine), it was never a question whether we would go out and play, it was only a question of when, for how long and with whom.  When Mom said "don't come in unless it's dark or you're bleeding", she wasn't kidding.  

We need recess.  It allows kids to develop their motor skills and physical fitness, but also their social/emotional fitness and ability to cooperate, develop relationships with others, and come up with and develop their own ideas of play.  

Thank you, American Academy of Pediatrics, for advocating for this crucial time! 

Moira Sullivan

Moira uses a holistic approach that promotes healthy development in the child while honoring and supporting their relationship with their family and the community. A graduate of San Jose State University, she has advanced training in sensory integration, visual perception and visual-motor integration, DIR Floortime, oral motor rehabilitation, strength and endurance training, and myofascial release.