Recess crucial for children’s learning

Time for play may be as important as reading, science and math

Children who take breaks for exercise and play are better behaved, more focused and get better grades, new research suggests. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, followed 11,000 kids aged 8 and 9; it found that those who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day were better behaved in class than those who had little or none. (Disadvantaged kids were more likely to be denied recess, but researchers controlled for variables including sex, ethnicity, class size, and public vs private schools.) Although the study seems to show how crucial recess can be, many kids still don’t get a break: in the same study, 30 percent were found to have little or no daily recess, and teachers often punish kids by taking it away. “Recess should be part of the curriculum,” lead researcher Dr. Romina M. Barros, a pediatrician and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told the New York Times. “You don’t punish a kid by having them miss math class, so kids shouldn’t be punished by not getting recess.”

The New York Times

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.