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‘Playing Outside the Box’ Highlights Benefits of Recess    
Friday, October 22 2010 @ 01:13 PM GMT+4
Contributed by: Ivy

Education

Squeezed between looming budget cuts and the pressure to perform well on standardized tests, many schools are eyeing ways to make the school day more productive. Sometimes, this means reducing recess – or cutting it out altogether.

Big mistake, says Emily Stanley, an education researcher and teacher. Stanley will discuss the short-term and long-term benefits of recess in a talk, “Playing Outside the Box: The Values of Recess,” at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, in Neighbors’ Hall at The Neighborhood Schoolhouse.

Stanley’s talk is the first in the school’s “Learning Beyond the Schoolhouse Walls” lecture series, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the school’s founding. Parents, teachers, administrators and the general public are invited to attend. The talk is free.

“It is critical to have unstructured play time, and a variety of settings to play in,” said Stanley. As children’s lives become more and more structured, she explained, “schools should be a refuge.” Her research suggests that unstructured outdoor play has positive short-term effects on school success as well as long-term academic and social benefits.

“The opportunity to engage in social problem-solving and work out issues that arise on your own” is something that children in highly structured environments do not learn, Stanley said. “This is causing concern for children’s independent development of social competence, even into adulthood.”

Recess also fosters environmental awareness, and many recent studies suggest it can boost academic performance. Her talk will address not only the benefits of recess, but also many concerns parents and educators have about it, such as safety issues, bullying, and the perceived loss of productive classroom time.

Stanley is a teacher and the chair of the science department at the Jemicy School, near Baltimore. She recently completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England, with a focus on children’s choices of outdoor play activities during school recesses.

The Neighborhood Schoolhouse is a small, private elementary and preschool that offers progressive education for children three through 12. The theme-based curriculum promotes hands-on learning through the seasons in the classroom, in the woods and in the community. For more information, please visit the school's website or call 802-257-5544.

 

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  • ‘Playing Outside the Box’ Highlights Benefits of Recess | 8 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    Kinetic Intelligence needs nurturing
    Authored by: Genie on Friday, October 22 2010 @ 11:23 PM GMT+4
    Recess was by far my favorite part of grade school!
    And, now, I am a body worker. Go figure.

    ---
    Wonders Never Cease.
    Kinetic Intelligence needs nurturing
    Authored by: NorahCook on Saturday, October 23 2010 @ 11:00 AM GMT+4
    Wild places are so necessary to our sanity -- We had a large field with a small grove of trees for recess time. The ground around the grove was large, tumbled rocks, mosses, ferns, goldenrod ... it was unkempt and full of potential. It was the breeze in the branches, the trembly shadows, the imaginary castle among the rocks that added magic to the school day.
    ‘Playing Outside the Box’ Highlights Benefits of Recess
    Authored by: SJD on Sunday, October 24 2010 @ 12:10 AM GMT+4
    Schools have been taking the fun out of recess away slowly over the years to the point where all the kids can do is just stand around and look at each other. Schools are afraid of lawsuits from injuries combined with a perceived lack of direct supervision. Let alone the bully aspect, strangers, drug dealers.... and don't forget the PC aspect of shielding kids from the strong versus the weak. The standardized test argument is rather weak, they don't want them outside out of direct control. When we went to school we were given the gift of responsibility and recess was the pick-up game of tag, softball. soccer, swing sets and marbles etc..typically with out a teacher hanging over your head. - Life was good. We actually learned on our own how to organize and have fun. Gosh, think for yourself what a concept!

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    “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”–Abe Lincoln
    ‘Playing Outside the Box’ Highlights Benefits of Recess
    Authored by: GSamson on Tuesday, October 26 2010 @ 03:03 AM GMT+4
    SJD wrote:

    "Gosh, think for yourself what a concept!"

    ------- end of quote

    Please forgive my inability to suppress a giggle upon reading
    this statement, written by a person whose posts consist
    primarily of worn-out, randomly-generated, embarrassingly
    simple-minded right-wing talking points.
    'Playing Outside the Box' Highlights Benefits of Recess
    Authored by: SJD on Tuesday, October 26 2010 @ 03:12 AM GMT+4
    There you go again? I'm keeping this simple.

    ---
    “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”–Abe Lincoln
    ‘Playing Outside the Box’ Highlights Benefits of Recess
    Authored by: annikee on Sunday, October 24 2010 @ 12:50 AM GMT+4
    Our recess was twice a week, after lunch, Tues & Thurs. Thursday was my favorite day of school in 4th grade. The morning was all-school assembly or a class trip, then lunch, then recess, and then just 2 hours of classroom confinement before the bell rang and we lined up to march down the stairs. In Brooklyn we had no green, but the cement schoolyard was huge and you could do any number of things. There was maybe one sport girls would be "allowed in", but we spent a lot of time jumping rope or hopscotching. Not to mention all the hand-clapping or Spauldeen-bouncing to rhymes we loved. And there was at least 1 fight a week. We were supervised pretty closely, though. Not a lot of encouraged individuality there.

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    I see a light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't hear a train...
    ‘Playing Outside the Box’ Highlights Benefits of Recess
    Authored by: Genie on Monday, October 25 2010 @ 08:15 PM GMT+4
    Recess here was twice a day forever, until the end of 6th grade, that is.

    ---
    Wonders Never Cease.
    'Playing Outside the Box' Highlights Benefits of Recess
    Authored by: YMCA on Monday, October 25 2010 @ 09:30 PM GMT+4
    Thanks to Neighborhood Schoolhouse for bringing Emily and her research to the area. As Executive Director of Meeting Waters YMCA, a member of the leadership team of the Fit & Healthy Kids Coalition of Windham County, and co-leader of the Healthy Communities Coalition, I think it is vital that parents, in particular, advocate for policies and practices in schools that support the healthy development of spirit, mind and body. Recess can develop all three at the same time. We can not say the same for most other aspects of a typical school day. Since many area schools are deemed in need of improvement because of No Child Left Behind, as parents, we need to advocate for physical activity and just plain "down time" as essential components to improved academic performance. More class time is not going to do the same. The research is clear... we just need to use the research. Emily will help us do that.