Play at school: Recess, and these games, boost child development(Read article summary)
Outside play at school can boost students' cognitive, social, emotional and physical abilities in ways in-class education cannot, pediatricians say. And these games help the process along.
Recess during school offers children cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits they don’t get through academics alone.
According to the AAP:
- Recess is “a necessary break in the day” and “should not be withheld for academic or punitive reasons.”
- Recess offers important breaks from concentrated classroom work, which allow children to be “more attentive and more productive in the classroom.”
- Recess “promotes social and emotional learning and development” through “peer interactions in which they practice and role play essential social skills.” Children learn negotiation, cooperation, sharing, and problem solving, as well as coping skills, such as perseverance and self-control.
- Recess offers benefits that are “unique from, and a complement to, physical education — not a substitute for it.”
- Recess can help offset risks to childhood obesity.
The AAP also noted that some schools cite safety issues as a barrier to recess and free play and offers steps to protect children while offering free and unstructured play.
The AAP statement provides a large boost to those who have been advocating for recess and free play in the face of calls for more academic and scheduled time for children. Last year, an important study published by the AAP revealed that pre-school children are far too sedentary for their physical and psychological health. The recent policy statement notes that “even minor movement during recess counterbalances sedentary time at school and at home.”
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