How schools can approach recess this school year

  1. Updates

How can principals incorporate COVID-19 lessons into recess next school year?

1. Teach games that allow for physical distance.

      • Educators can/should intentionally plan recesses that enable kids to play while meeting expectations for social or physical distance.

2. Prepare for virtual game facilitation.

      • Kids can continue to have access to play during the school day when they are at home. By having resources for virtual games planned, kids can experience play everyday even when school lessons are delivered virtually.

3. Incorporate youth voice into planning.

      • Students are your asset when designing a thoughtful, fun recess. Work with students to design the space, develop rules and boundaries, and invent new games.

How is recess going to be different because of COVID-19?

1.  Use more spaces throughout the school.

      • Every space within a school can be used for recess. Play can happen anywhere, from the cafeteria to the hallway.

2. Hygiene is essential.

      • Kids should be physically safe by utilizing CDC recommended hygiene practices in all play spaces. Equipment should be cleaned often and behavior changes like teaching kids how to play games with space modifications should be encouraged.

3. Bring play into the classroom.

      • Single class recess is fun for kids and continues to provide cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits to kids and teachers.

Why is recess still important next school year?

1. Play helps kids.

      • In these unprecedented times where students have experienced isolation, loneliness, boredom, and trauma, a thoughtfully planned recess can support students to feel safe, experience joy, and reconnect with their school. Recess has proven immense cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits even in the most ideal times.

2. Play prevents social isolation.

      • Getting every kid to play every day builds community and helps kids transition from isolation to social interaction. By building community, school will feel like a safe place for every kid to grow, learn, and develop.

To learn more about how to redefine and restructure your recess, contact Playworks.

Bring Playworks to Your School

What are researchers focused on recess saying about play next year? Learn from the Global Recess Alliance, a newly formed group of scholars, health professionals, and education leaders, argues that attention to recess during school reopening is essential.

Read the alliance’s Statement on Recess

The CDC has also released guidelines for schools and child care programs that include recommendations for recess. Visit their website

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