According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, recess is defined as “regularly scheduled periods within the elementary school day for unstructured physical activity and play.” Depending on which part of the world you go to school is, recess is the break period provided to all students, irrespective of which grade they are in. In recent times, however, things have started to change. In many schools, it is increasingly becoming the norm to reduce the amount of time allotted for recess, so that more time could be allowed for classes as more and more subjects are being introduced. While the importance of these subjects in a student’s life cannot be undermined, the importance of recess also cannot be denied. In this article, we will discuss the importance of recess in a student’s life, and why a significant time for it needs to be allotted.
The most important factor to note about recess is that it is absolutely essential for the overall well being of the individual. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, and the time of recess has been built around this idea. The average school hour is long enough, and rigorous enough, and not having a single break in between would be enough to take a child’s mind off studies altogether. It is absolutely important that the child is able to take some time off during the day and in between classes to engage in some fun and games, or at least, some kind of activity that is not predesigned by the teacher, nor bound by a curriculum. This period of break traditionally gives the children a good amount of time in which they can unwind and be themselves.
The period of recess has a great deal of impact on a child’s physical growth as well. While it was always important for young children to engage in active physical play, it is more important today than ever, when children are threatening to turn into couch potatoes every day. Today, children are more comfortable and more likely to glue themselves to the television screens and phone screens than to go outside and play, and the presence of recess ensures that the children will at least spend some time playing in the company of their peers. Children spend the break time that they get to release the pent up energy, which is most efficiently done through some vigorous physical activity.
The period of recess also has a great impact on the emotional development and well being of the child. During the hours of the school day when the child is sitting in the classroom and partaking in lessons, there is not much chance to socialize with their peers, and get to know each other. It is during the break period that the children can truly be around each other and form friendships and close bonds. Social interaction is a common activity during the hours of recess, when the children can mingle freely. This leads to the development of important soft skills in the child, such as communication skills, perseverance, coping skills, and self control. The child also learns the importance of fair play and sportsmanship as they engage in various games and activities, and also the necessity of camaraderie as they form close friendships.
Better for cognitive skills
It is during recess that the children get the most welcome break from their daily activities. It is only during this time that the children are able to take some time off their daily workload and constant learning process, and revitalize themselves. By engaging in mutual communication and game play during recess, they are able to unclog their minds. Research has shown that the break from studies and work that that the period of recess provides actually enables the mind to become sharper and more receptive to the new concepts they are presented with for the rest of the day. The tiredness and fatigue that inevitably set in during a long period of work are shed off during the break time. Stress acts as an inhibitor to the cognitive processes, and a short period of unstructured play break time helps to cancel out the inhibiting factors and makes the mind more alert and sharper, thus enhancing the cognitive processes.
Recess is extremely important not just in schools, but also in all areas of life where the individual has to undertake a form of organized activity. It is impossible to work constantly, even for a whole day, without allowing yourself at least a couple of hours of rest at least. In fact, that is also not recommended; the capacity of the brain is not unlimited, and it will inevitable get tired and function with less than usual alacrity if it does not get some time off to engage in something completely different.