The benefits of recess move well beyond the playground.

When we encourage principals to consider if their students are getting a quality recess, a question that we are often posed in return is, “What is a quality recess?” A quality recess is created when schools proactively create a playground that supports the physical, emotional, and social development of students. During a quality recess, students engage in active play, learn respect, and exhibit positive behavior. And what happens on the playground is connected to what happens in the classroom.

With a focus on improving recess, the result is that teachers can focus on teaching, and the schools and students benefit from the recaptured teaching time. In fact, many schools recapture more than 36 hours of teaching time a year—the equivalent of several weeks of math, language arts, or other instruction. According to research, play is essential for healthy child development and an invaluable tool for improving school climate. Published studies show that quality recess and playtime help children maintain positive classroom behavior and focus on academic tasks.

So, are your students getting a quality recess? Visit the new section of our website created just for principals to find out.

More Resources


woman and child smiling
woman and child smiling

August 17, 2022

How Adults Best Create Supportive Play Communities ›

With over 25 years of experience working with kids in schools, our staff and coaches have learned many things about how to set up the most positive, inviting, engaging play experiences. The lessons they’ve learned can be applied on the playground, in the virtual classroom, and at home. When you are setting up play environments…

students in circle playing game with ball
students in circle playing game with ball

August 17, 2022

Helping kids to find new friends and feel included ›

Play is a natural, safe way that kids can interact with people who are different and rejoice by achieving shared goals. Interacting with people who are different at a young age is good for kids. To make sure that kids have the opportunity to play with peers outside of their normal groups, adults or youth…

two girls playing rock paper scissors
two girls playing rock paper scissors

August 17, 2022

Empowering Kids to Create Their Own Happiness ›

By Playworks and UNICEF Kid Power® When kids’ minds and bodies get active, either while playing or participating in service learning, they experience physical and mental benefits (and support positive academic behaviors). One of the most important social-emotional outcomes is experiencing joy. Educators and families have risen to the challenge of ensuring kids get social-emotional…