Essay 4 Final Draft
10 December 2007
Bring Back Recess
An alarming trend has been sweeping across Americaâ€™s elementary schools, angering both students and parents alike. The source of this crisis is the decision of school districts to permanently ban recess from their schools. Over forty percent of school districts in the United States have either banned recess completely or are considering doing so in the near future. Other school districts have decided to allot less time to recess during the school day or have banned certain activities from taking place. Parents, teachers, and child experts argue that not only are these bans unnecessary, but ...view middle of the document...
Accidents occurring on the playground are the number one cause of injuries among elementary school students (Thompson). School officials worry about the safety of students and potential lawsuits from parents. Public schools in Portland, Oregon have removed equipment from playgrounds that could cause potential injury such as swings, merry go rounds, and monkey bars (Kumar). Many other schools have banned contact sports from being played during recess such as tag and football. Schools in Broward County, Florida went to such extremes to prevent injuries that they banned running from recess. Schools have sufficient reasons to worry. In Tampa, Florida, a twelve year old student was attacked by a bully, causing a broken arm and permanent damage to his forearm. His parents sued the school district claiming the conflict occurred due to lack of supervision on the school playground and were awarded a total of $4,000,000.00 in damages (Rebello). Some schools, after hearing stories such as this and experiencing similar issues have decided to avoid injuries altogether and ban recess. New schools being built in Atlanta, Georgia, for example, are being built without playgrounds.
Although it is understandable why school districts are looking at eliminating recess to solve their problems, many parents, teachers, and early childhood experts believe that removing recess from school will cause more harm than good. â€œResearch suggests that recess can play an important role in the learning, social development and health of elementary school students,â€ claims Olga Jarrett, an associate professor of early childhood education at Georgia State University (Nussbaum). Several other organizations, such as The American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also agreed that recess is beneficial to children. Recess promotes brain development, language and physical development, learning, social and emotional improvement, as well as benefiting the childâ€™s overall physical health (â€œMiami-Dadeâ€).
Recess allows children to develop important socialization skills. Debra Nussbaum, a columnist with the New York Times, claims recess is where she learned lifeâ€™s greatest lessons. â€œThatâ€™s where we made friends, learned teamwork, practiced sharing, exercised our imaginations and discovered basic politics,â€ she states. â€œHow to win friends and influence people; how to choose your battles; how to patch broken alliances; how to get people to join your team instead of the other fellowâ€™s. Yep, politicsâ€ (par.14). Recess is often the only time children are able to play with other children on their own terms and without direct adult interference. Children learn to share and cooperate by interacting with each other. They also learn the important skills of problem solving and negotiating. If another child doesnâ€™t want to play a certain game or tries to steal the ball from another student, they learn how to explore different options...