As I was rummaging through growingyoungmovers website I came across a question posed under daily physical activity, it asked, “What do you think of the idea of a structured recess for elementary students?”
Well I will tell you what I think…
We are told by many active lifestyle programs, like Saskatchewan in motion, that kids need 60 minutes of physical activity or more every day and more is always better. Many suggest structured play during recess will help kids achieve those 60 minutes a day, because in some cases kids are not getting any minutes of physical activity during a school day. I do not think having structured recess is the answer for this problem. I think we have to go back to the roots. We should ask ourselves, “Why are kids not achieving any physical activity minutes in a school day?” It states in the Saskatchewan Education Curriculum that physical education should be 150 minutes of instruction per week. (Break that down into approx. 30 min a day) So the problem is not about having a structured recess but having a structured/organized school day.
If we look at a structured recess what problems can that create? One, many students dislike physical activity, because it is forced upon them during the time of day where normally students would have some freedom. Second, does the social aspect of recess time get pushed to the side? Having a structured recess would leave less time for kids of similar age to discuss topics of interest to them. Third, forced physical activities during recess might turn kids off of physical movement completely.
We must also look at the positives of a structured recess. One, structured recess could in fact decrease bullying because students are engaged in a physical activity while supervised/instructed. Second, it would guarantee active movement. Third…well frankly I cannot come up of a good reason to support this…
I believe that recess should be a time for kids to have a break from the structure of a school day, to release energy on their own terms, and socialize with their friends. Students that are structured too much will lose their sense of adventure and lose chances for exploring their curiosities.
What are your thoughts about a structured recess?