Give kids a break, doctors said Monday — or you might find that they have trouble paying attention in the classroom.
In a policy statement released on Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health, pediatricians urged schools to maintain regularly scheduled recess, arguing that it offered academic, social and physical benefits for children of all ages, from elementary school kids to adolescents.
Even as increased pressure to raise standardized test scores has pushed schools to consider cutting recess, the personal time for kids shouldn’t be curbed to make more time for classroom study, they added, noting that, “Ironically, minimizing or eliminating recess may be counterproductive to academic achievement.”
For similar reasons, withholding recess also should not be used as a means of punishment, they said.
Writing in the journal Pediatrics, lead authors Dr. Robert Murray and Catherine Ramstetter reported that recess, defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “regularly scheduled periods within the elementary school day for unstructured physical activity and play,” provides “crucial” benefits that more structured physical education cannot.