All students have at least 20 minutes a day of supervised recess, during which students are encouraged to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity
- Recess does not need to be a single 20-minute block. For example, a school may offer a 10-minute morning recess and a 10-minute afternoon recess.
- Passing time between classes does not count towards the 20 minutes.
- Students should be encouraged to participate, but they are not required to engage in vigorous physical activity during recess.
Types of Activities
- Dance Dance Revolution
- Ultimate Frisbee Challenge
- Intramurals (Volleyball, Basketball, etc)
- Playground equipment and P.E. equipment available during recess
Recess In Elementary Schools
- This position paper from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education provides support for recess, while separate and distinct from physical education, as an essential component of the total educational experience for elementary aged children. Parent and community volunteers are encouraged to lead
- Walking programs
Resources to support a “Recess Before Lunch” schedule in elementary schools
- Recess And the Importance Of Play: A Position Statement on Younger Children and Recess; National Association of Early Childhood Specialist in State Departments of Education (Broken:
This resource describes the rationale and numerous benefits of recess.
- Back to School -- Recess and P.E. Critical to Success (no longer available)
This article supports the need for both recess and physical education in schools and lists these resources to help parents or other advocates:
- How Recess Promotes Focus for ADHD Children
Recess is even more important for students with AD/HD. For them, recess isn’t an extra activity; it’s an essential one. Physical activity is healthy and relaxing, and provides focus and clarity of mind.
- Recess Backlash: Parents say it pays to play
Experts say recess helps children learn better - and teaches social lessons. Many schools have cut recess, but face pressure to restore it. This article gives an example of parents advocating for recess.
- Recess in Elementary School: What Does the Research Say? ERIC Digest.
The available research suggests that recess can play an important role in the learning, social development, and health of elementary school children. While there are arguments against recess, no research clearly supports not having recess. However, more research is needed to determine the current percentage of schools that have abolished recess and assess the effect of no- recess policies on student test scores, attitudes, and behaviors.
Recess Is 'In Recess' As Schools Cut Child's Play
Rebecca Lamphere, a mother in Virginia Beach, Virginia, waged a two-year battle to reinstate recess at her daughter's elementary school. Lamphere's crusade received media attention and resulted in the Virginia Beach public schools mandating "daily, unstructured recess" in April 2000. When news of her victory spread, the state of Virginia followed suit four months later, mandating recess for all public elementary school students
Schools Taking Breaks from Recess
This article from 2001 discusses parents’ concerns about recessing being eliminated and stresses the benefits of recess. In Virginia, fears that tough new state standards were driving schools to cut recess prompted the state school board to write "a daily recess" into its accreditation standards.
Rescuing Recess is designed to promote an active lifestyle by “giving kids a break” during the school day. Led by National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Cartoon Network and other advisors, Rescuing Recess encourages parent/teacher collaboration to ensure that recess remains a part of a child’s school day.
“RECESS IS A MUST!”
The National Association of Sports and Physical Education informs parents and elementary school office about the benefits of recess.
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