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School Recess Enhances Brain Power

Posted on December 31 2012

It appears that recess isn’t just about fun and games. As schools continue to make changes to meet the demands of educating the nation’s youth, a new study and policy statement has been released emphasizing the importance of recess, and unstructured play as part of every child’s development. The statement, published in the prestigious journal Pediatrics and recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, concludes that recess is an important time which allows kids to develop social interaction skills, as well as re-focusing their brains to learn more when recess has ended. The physical activity helps to allow the child some downtime and relax their brain. The statement concludes that recess allows a brief window of relaxation for the brain between intense cognitive learning sessions. In addition, with the chance to relax and regroup, children are able to learn and retain more information throughout the long school day. As the cry for greater education continues and school resources are shuffled to accommodate for academic needs, recess has been shoved to the bottom of the priority pile. However, with the country’s obesity rate on the rise and the demands being asked of even elementary level children, many are reconsidering just how valuable the recess period is. Allowing children the ability to create social skills, learn independent conflict resolution while getting some regular exercise during the day is good for their overall health, and it helps develop skills they will need as they grow older.  Additionally, allowing children the chance to get out during the day helps to decompress and revitalize them, creating a better environment for learning. The AAP committee also adds that recess should not be viewed as a substitute for structured physical education. It should be offered to children as their personal time to regroup and do as they choose. Physical education should still remain a structured set period within the standard school hours. Sources: Time - Healthland - http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/31/yay-for-recess-pediatricians-say-its-as-important-as-math-or-reading/ ABC News - Health - http://abcnews.go.com/Health/recess-crucial-kids-aap-policy-statement/story?id=18083935#.UOGaqXc_qp0 USA Today - Health and Wellness - http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/28/recess-pediatricians-policy-statement/1796547/  

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