Parents sought required recess for their kids at school. Florida Senate said no.

Reblogged from The Washington Post by  Valerie Strauss

A group of Florida parents wanted the Florida legislature to guarantee that their kids in public elementary schools would get daily recess. Members of the state House thought it was a good idea and approved a bill with such a mandate last month — but when it was time for the Senate to take up the measure, they wouldn’t even consider it.

Recess for young kids sounds like a no-brainer, given that young kids have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time and do better academically when they have time to be active. As the Orlando Sentinel quoted Dean Ross, 8, a second grader at Lake Eola Charter School, talking about afternoon recess: “We love it. If we don’t get it, we start to get crazy.” In fact, study after study has found recess to be an important part of the day for young children. From the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health:

Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education — not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.

But in this era of “accountability-based” school reform in which high-stakes standardized tests remain supreme, recess has become expendable in many places, and even deemed a waste of time that could be better used making young kids do academic work and prepping them for tests.

That’s why a group of Florida parents, sometimes referred to as the “recess moms,” pushed an initiative guaranteeing daily recess. Read more>>