Education Week’s Rethinking Recess

Schools have sometimes trimmed recess to make more time for instruction, or withheld the daily break as punishment for misbehavior. Yet research shows this time can be used to reinforce a positive school culture. Playworks is a national nonprofit that promotes organized, intentional recess. A study of the model shows that children learn and practice conflict resolution, compromise, and self-regulation, as well as leadership and physical activity. Essential components of this model include treating recess with the same intentionality as academic lesson plans, having dedicated staff to organize and model games, establish common rules, use simple tools to resolve disagreements such as rock-paper-scissors, and foster positive language.