Don't Remove Recess!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by susiestar, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Many of us have kids who still NEED that time at recess to let out excess energy. It still seems to be the reaction of school to take recess away if a child has not gotten work done or has not been paying attention.

    I have never seen any time when this resulted in a child who paid attention better after recess, and i challenge anyone who says that they have to prove it. It just makes no sense.

    Our state legislature passed a law a few years back that says that recess may not be removed for lack of performance in the classroom. Children must be taken to recess unless certain temperatures are met or storms/snow are present.

    WHAT would a teacher do if they couldn't remove recess?? MANY of our teachers had FITS over this because they had removed recess for decades.

    Now we have "walk and talk" recess for anyone in trouble. A playground monitor will keep kids in trouble walking in a big circuit around the playground. Not in the way of games, but making a big loop around. they can speak quietly to anyone walking near them, but they MUST walk for the entire recess unless they need a drink (many kids take water bottles to recess, and if they are doing walk and talk they must take a bottle with them per school rules).

    It does a LOT of good. The "free choice" aspect is taken away. Kids still have a chance to work on social skills via the talk aspect. Kids work out those wiggles at an appropriate time. Teachers find a LOT better behavior from those kids in the afternoon. There is a lot less resentment of the teachers. Performance in classes after school has gotten much better. The people who teach "specials", aka art, music, etc... stay a lot longer witht he school district because the kids are a lot more pleasant than when recess was taken away.

    It is somthing that you may want to suggest to your children's teachers, or the entire school, as an alternative to taking away recess.

    I noticed that a couple of kids have already lost recess and thought I would post this so that all of uss could try to get our schools to use this instead.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree- it was hard enough for my son to sit still that long in elementary school even before he became a difficult child. I feel for the schools in a way because they don't have too many choices left considered as appropriate punishment, but honestly, this isn't going to help a kid who has trouble conforming to all the requirements to begin with. It's kind of like suspending a kid who skipped school, in my humble opinion.
  3. agee

    agee Guest

    My son's elementary school does this as well - it's not for the entire recess but the class as a whole or individual students get laps around the playground. I've also seen punishment = no equipment playing - so no slides or playstructure - but instead a ball or other toys to play with in the sand or mulch.
    I think this is very fair. Gets them moving and is also a consequence. And for kiddos like mine who NEED to move it is very appropriate.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We have walk and talk before and after school, too. The kids who get there early go out to the playground and walk and socialize. It cut WAY back on fights because the kids are all engaged in doing something physical but not confrontational. No one can play keep away or games like that because it is hard to roll up the playground. After school the bus lines are in a big open area that used to be an open breezeway between buildings. The kids can walk in a circuit or sit in their bus lines. It has even cut down on bus fights - which no one expected.

    The kids know it isn't so much a "punishment" but something to help them keep on task when they are back in class. Not every kid does it all recess, depends on how it was assigned. Some kids choose to do it at recess. If kids want to run they can, but they have to be responsible enough not to run into anyone.

    It just makes such a HUGE difference after lunch for the entire class - there isn't that one student with so much energy he cannot sit still or think.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    At one stage when it was obvious that difficult child 3 couldn't cope with unstructured play, I sent his gardening gloves along and left a small trowel for him at the school office so he could do some weeding in the school's garden beds during recess and lunch. It would have worked better if a teacher could have supervised or supported this; perhaps reminded difficult child 3 that he could garden, or directed him to an area that needed weeding. He used to weed for me from very young, he knew what plants to remove and which ones to leave. It calmed him down, had him out in the fresh air but also kept him away from the bullies. Although the bullies would still sometimes seek him out to hassle him even then; again, difficult child 3 needed supervision in order to keep him safe, there was no way he was skilled enough to learn "the hard way" by constant contact, how to cope with the bullies. Autistic kids just don't learn social skills that way and aI never could make the school understand this.

  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Couple things. First and foremost, I think taking away recess as a punishment for incomplete work or "bad" behavior is wrong. I believe that many of the children in school that struggle to finish writing assignments or math worksheets are kids who absolutely and positively need the physical, as well as mental, aspect of recess.

    My son actually had it written into his IEP that recess could not be taken away. If his work was incomplete, it became his homework. And I will tell you that it made, over time and maturity, a positive impact on my son.

    I also will tell you that if your school is a Title 1 or offers a free/reduced breakfast/lunch program, the students are required by law to have a certain amount of time allotted for recess. Not all schools are Title I because it's more a program for areas with a lower socioeconomic makeup.

    A great study is synopsized here:

    It's from the website, "Science Daily" that reports on research in the news.

    Taking away recess can be a real motivator for a typical child who is simply wasting time in the classroom or cutting up deliberately. But for difficult children, it is extremely unfair to punish them as a result of their disability. It's what we fight for their whole school career. Recess can be equally as important as Math or Science.

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    In our state NO school with elem age children or younger can remove recess for any reason, including missing work or classroom behavior. The walk and talk is used for kids who cannot behave in class - they have the movement that they need, it is directed, they can make as much noise as they want as long as they are not yelling in the ears/faces/etc... of others. It is amazing! Few kids are given more than 15 mins walk and talk though many choose to do it all recess!

    In other states I think parents need to FIGHT to preserve recess as a time for kids to MOVE, not to sit on walls or do classwork or whatever. They NEED the time. A program like walk and talk actually increases classroom productivitiy - esp if the kids learn that they can choose to do walk and talk if they want, that it isn't just for those who behave badly. That was an early hurdle - a few of the kids who realized it helped them in the afternoons started acting up until they were given walk and talk . Once they were told they could go do it if they wanted they setlted down. Even a few "good" kids who rarely got into trouble got into some in the beginning because they wanted to do it too! -- Surprised ALL of the adults, but it happened in every school in our town!
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    You know... I have been thinking about this and... If they'd taken away MY recess as a child, I might've been a LOT worse than I was. As it was, I preferred to sit and read. However, the physical activity is necessary for ALL children, not just our difficult children...