Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New York Times Online: The 3 R’s? A Fourth Is Crucial, Too: Recess

Finally, the importance of recess and outdoor play is becoming mainstream! Another wonderful article by one of our favorite journalists, Tara Parker-Pope, at the New York Times online edition.

Some key points include:
New research suggests that play and down time may be as important to a child’s academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades.

A study published this month in the journal Pediatrics studied the links between recess and classroom behavior among about 11,000 children age 8 and 9. Those who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none. Although disadvantaged children were more likely to be denied recess, the association between better behavior and recess time held up even after researchers controlled for a number of variables, including sex, ethnicity, public or private school and class size.

The lead researcher, Dr. Romina M. Barros, a pediatrician and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the findings were important because many schools did not view recess as essential to education.

“Sometimes you need data published for people at the educational level to start believing it has an impact,” she said. “We should understand that kids need that break because the brain needs that break.”
Check out the entire article here.

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