Should middle school students have recess?

  1. Updates
  2. Guest Blogger
  3. Middle School
  4. Positive School Climate
  5. Recess

Guest blogger, Jennie Day-Burget, is chairwoman of the board for Playworks Portland.

I wasn’t particularly fond of middle school-not only did I live under the constant watch of a bully but I experienced a fashion crisis of epic proportions. It involved fantastically bad hair, holiday-themed color changes to the bands in my clear braces and a closet full of heavily patterned body suits. All this plus the emotional strife experienced by most tween girls torn between friends and boyfriends, childhood and growing up.

Honestly, it’s a miracle any of us survive middle school. But you know what might make survival easier? Having a break for tweens to socialize and also get some of that hormone fueled energy out.

Integrating a break into middle school activities is the mission of one group of parents in Baltimore who are pushing to change school policies to have recess included in the school days of their 6th-8th graders, asserting that all work and no play is “…like punishment.”

And maybe taking play out of the day is a kind of a punishment to this seemingly tortured group of young souls; after all, the benefits of recess in schools are pretty powerful. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is essential for keeping children healthy and for helping them reach important social, emotional and cognitive developmental milestones. While our middle schoolers want us to think of them as adults, they’re only becoming adults –an important distinction. As the real adults, we’re required to balance our approach as they truly are still children.

Also, play helps kids manage stress and become resilient. What middle school kid doesn’t need help with that–especially when it comes to making important decisions about braces and body suits?

What do you think? Should recess continue on to middle school?

Learn how Antioch Middle School in Nashville, TN improved their recess with Playworks.

Are you an educator? Start with recess to transform your school day! 


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students playing on blacktop
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