Why recess may be the secret to your student’s academic success

Family Health

By pH health care professionals

What’s trending in schools across the country? The death of recess. Surveys and studies show schools are reducing recess in order to squeeze in more academics, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports. However, experts are grabbing the mic, saying hold on -- this is doing more harm than good. In fact, they say, research suggests physically active students who spend less time with academic content seem to outperform sedentary students who spend more time with academic content, they say. So is less academics and more recess the actual key to student success?

A new program taking off in schools is showing it just might be.

The recess solution

Some schools are adopting a new program, called the LiiNK Project, The Washington Post reports. This program increases physical activity and recess to improve focus and learning in the classroom, while also adding lessons on ethics and character development to the curriculum to improve behavior/bullying in schools.

Schools using the program send students outside for unstructured play four times during the school day for 15 minutes each, totaling an hour of recess a day. LiiNK Project states that “other countries have demonstrated that academic achievement does not suffer -- but improves -- when including time for recess and physical education.”

The program started last school year with four Texas schools using the program and four schools serving as the control group. Now, in its second school year, it has grown to 14 public schools in Texas and Oklahoma. So far? Early results show the kids in the program schools focused better than the ones in the control schools. Recess works!

So why is recess so important?

Recess not only gives students a break from the rigors of the classroom, but also “offers cognitive, social, emotional and physical benefits,” the American Academy of Pediatrics states, adding that it is “a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development,” and therefore “should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”

The LiiNK Project agrees, citing a wide range of benefits such as self-monitoring and problem-solving skills, social and emotional development, stress management, improved behavior and better mental focus (to name just a few!).

The goal? Not only to increase learning, but also to increase health -- meaning less obesity, less Type 2 diabetes and more energy among students. Happier, healthier children sounds like the right recipe for success, inside the classroom and out.

What do you think? Would you like to see programs like this in your local schools?

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.