Recess Vital to Education, Study Says

    ‘Ograve;Sometimes you need data published for people at the educational level to start believing it has an impact,’ Barros said. ‘Ograve;We should understand that kids need that break because the brain needs that break.’

    Barros also disagreed with the practice of withholding recess time from children who demonstrate behavioral problems.

    ‘Ograve;Recess should be part of the curriculum,’ she said. ‘Ograve;You don’t punish a kid by having them miss math class, so kids shouldn’t be punished by not getting recess.’

    The study is part of a growing area of research suggesting that behavior, concentration and academic performance are improved by physical fitness, recreation and time spent in nature.

    Harvard researchers studied 1,800 middle school students and found that the more physical fitness tests children passed, the better they did on academic tests, according to a report in the Journal of School Health. The study also suggested that children can benefit academically from physical activity during gym class and recess.

    According to Andrea Faber Taylor, a child environment and behavior researcher at the University of Illinois, research suggests that all children, especially those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, can benefit from spending time in nature during the school day. Taylor recommended children take walks or have access to green courtyards.

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    The journal Pediatrics published a study this month investigating the connection between elementary-school recess and children’s academic performance, concluding that recess is a crucial part of the educational process.

    The study followed 11,000 children between the ages of eight and nine, and determined that children who were let out for more than 15 minutes of recess a day demonstrated better behavior in class than those who were not.

    The link between more recess time and better behavior held up even after researchers controlled for variables such as gender, ethnicity, class size and whether the school was public or private.

    Lead researcher Romina M. Barros, a pediatrician and assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, stressed the importance of the findings in a moment when many schools are cutting back on recess time.

    ‘Ograve;Sometimes you need data published for people at the educational level to start believing it has an impact,’ Barros said. ‘Ograve;We should understand that kids need that break because the brain needs that break.’

    Barros also disagreed with the practice of withholding recess time from children who demonstrate behavioral problems.

    ‘Ograve;Recess should be part of the curriculum,’ she said. ‘Ograve;You don’t punish a kid by having them miss math class, so kids shouldn’t be punished by not getting recess.’

    The study is part of a growing area of research suggesting that behavior, concentration and academic performance are improved by physical fitness, recreation and time spent in nature.

    Harvard researchers studied 1,800 middle school students and found that the more physical fitness tests children passed, the better they did on academic tests, according to a report in the Journal of School Health. The study also suggested that children can benefit academically from physical activity during gym class and recess.

    According to Andrea Faber Taylor, a child environment and behavior researcher at the University of Illinois, research suggests that all children, especially those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, can benefit from spending time in nature during the school day. Taylor recommended children take walks or have access to green courtyards.

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