Story Archive

Recess is Serious Business

Two elementary schools in Edina, Minn., spent about $30,000 to hire consultants from a company called Playworks to help make recess better. “Every school is looking for a way to increase student activity and engagement and decrease conflict,” said Chris Holden, principal at one of the schools. With the advice of the consultants, children are allowed to select from a list of “games of the week” that are overseen by adults. Phrases like “you’re out” are ...uh... out in favor of more inclusive terms like “good job” or “nice try.” Some of the kids — and parents — don’t like the new structure, and the kids are finding recess confusing. “The philosophy of Playworks does not fit Concord,” said parent Kathy Sandven. “It is a structured philosophy — an intervention philosophy — not allowing kids for free play.” Researchers say the changes resulted in less bullying and more learning focus in schools, but some experts say the reduction in free play reduces learning. “He feels like that’s not playing anymore,” said a parent about her fourth-grade son. (MS/Minneapolis Star-Tribune) ...Someone has managed to “flunk recess” — but it’s not the kids.
Original Publication Date: 25 October 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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