Monday, January 26, 2009

Kids Need Recess

Let them play! That's the recommendation from researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Their study points out that the growing trend of reducing free time for play in elementary school is negatively affecting classroom behavior and important social development in children. 

By reducing the time children spend during the school day on recess, physical education, creativity and the arts, we're contributing to childhood obesity and robbing children of the positive socialization and much-needed outlet for play that supports children's ability to focus in the classroom. 

Give 'em a break. Children need more time to play. Can I get an Amen, Sista!!!  And don't even get me started on how much homework they shove at kids these days.

I know it may seem petty, but the biggest problem I have with MiniMe's school is a lack of time in their day for socialization. Learning to make friends and get along with other kids is just as important as learning your 9-times-tables, if you ask me. (not that anyone did). For instance, and this drives me absolutely insane, at MiniMe's school, the children all cram into an inadequately sized cafeteria where they sit at long narrow tables facing each other and . . . they're not allowed to talk to each other. Voice level Zero is their term for it. If kids can't talk to each other as they sit across from one another - hell practically on top of each other - during lunch, when can they get a break? Isn't that what lunchtime is for? To make it worse, the Cafeteria Nazi, er, I mean Manager, stands around throughout lunch screaming into a microphone giving kids orders like "clean up" "voice level zero", crap like that. I wonder if she realizes the cafeteria would be a much more peaceful place if she wasn't screaming into a microphone like a banshee the entire time. I thought about complaining to the Principal the first year MiniMe was at this school, but then I saw the Principal emulating the Cafeteria Nazi in the cafeteria one afternoon and realized this was a "top down" problem. 

So listen up Cafeteria Nazi . . . Principal who's only concerned about test scores . . . Let Them Play!!! The world will be a better place for it. 


caroline said...

I have cafeteria supervision detail at the 9th grade alternative school where I am a paraprofessional, in addition to my regular duties.
We let the kids sit where they choose, have 1/2 court basketball after all food is served and allow chit-chat and iPods. We keep the noise down to a dull roar so we can hear announcements from the office if needed. Our chief job, as we see it, is to give the kids a break and let them relax a bit after 3 hours in class with no break. Safety and making sure there is no rough-housing or bullying is what we are concerned with, not silence.
Hopefully, the kids don't see us as the lunchroom police. Both my partner and I have had our own kids in lunchrooms like you describe and we will not have these kids subjected to same. Occasionally, their behavior gets out of hand, then we deal with that individually.

They need the break! We wish we had facility and enough supervision to have our big kids outside in the nice weather.
Caroline in South Dakota

NativeMom said...

Caroline, you obviously are more enlightened than most of your contemporaries. Which isn't surprising since you read my blog. Ha! We could use some of that South Dakota sensibility in the Sunshine State (try saying that 3 times fast).

caroline said...

We could use some of your Florida sunshine here at the's 5F and snowing again.

Cammie said...

I agree absolutely!! How many ADULTS (in an office or otherwise)can make it through even an hour without a break or speaking to friends, much less the 6 hours they expect of elementary-school kids? And you're right--the socailization is SO important, especially in this day and age.

Nativemom said...


That sounds like an "Amen Sista!!"

Alaine Mac in Mich. said...

AMEN SISTA!!! I have an active boy in 3rd grade, we also have the lunchromm Nazi and quiet policy. we have an hour lunch/recess midday, that is do we unite to get it across that this is not good for the children?? I have read several arcticles lately that agree with us, children need UNSTRUCTERED playtime to help with attention, socialization, and obesity. I'm going to try to get something going here in Michigan, but could use suggestions from anyone as to how to best approach it.