Tuesday, 6 June 2006

School recess: The next educational battleground?

by Dave Munger of Cognitive Daily

The Washington Post reports on the decline of school recess periods:

For many kids today, the recess bell comes too late, for too little time, or even not at all. Pressure to raise test scores and adhere to state-mandated academic requirements is squeezing recess out of the school day. In many schools, it's just 10 or 15 minutes, if at all. In some cases, recess has become structured with organized games -- yes, recess is being taught.

Evidence from psychologists suggest otherwise:
"This is the one time during the day that they have the freedom, or the power, to control what they will be doing in terms of decision-making, in terms of negotiation, in terms of conflict resolution with their peers," said Audrey Skrupskelis, associate professor of early childhood education at the University of South Carolina in Aiken.

Dave asked for comments from his readers.

Some are unaware of the shortening or removal of recess. Others believe it may be a good idea, at least to avoid bullying. Some agree with the agreement that children need free time to develop.

The root of reducing recess is the overloading of the "curriculum" assigned to schools. It seems that whenever there is a social problem (drug, HIV, traffic safety,...), the solution is to educate and then it is dumped to the school. Another is the increasing liability put onto the school. Children get hurt in play time, bullying (I am not endorsing bullying, but it is something we need to learn to handle!) and other accidents happen during free time. Solution - no free time!

No comments: