Rethinking that magic time called “recess”

20 minutes of playtime during the school day is NOT what the doctor ordered

Despite common sense and our own memories of grade school, only 8 of our United States require recess in their schools. And even when they do, well, take Rhode Island for an example. Our bouncing, bubbling, active youngsters are guaranteed just 20 minutes of their long school days for unsupervised physical activity.

SHAPE (Society for Health and Physical Educators) America wants to up the ante with a new set of guidelines for recess. SHAPE says, for example, that no child should sit for more than two hours, especially during the daytime. And that the minimum of activity should be 60 minutes, which corresponds with our 5-2-1-0 program.

But SHAPE goes much farther. It offers a 19-strategies plan for game-changing recesses, promising better health, mental health, and educational outcomes in return.

NPR-Ed went into greater and better detail in a recent broadcast, including reporting on a North Carolina primary school that took the SHAPE recommendations to heart.

Physical Activity
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