Both recess and physical education in schools promote activity and a healthy lifestyle, and should be a daily break for young children and adolescents.
A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “The Crucial Role of Recess in Schools,” will be published in the January 2013 issue of Pediatrics and released online Dec. 31, 2012.
Safe and properly supervised recess offers children cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits. It should be used as a complement to physical education classes, not a substitute, and whether it’s spent indoors or outdoors, recess should provide free, unstructured play or activity.
The AAP recommends that recess should never be withheld as a punishment, as it serves as a fundamental component of development and social interaction that students may not receive in a more complex school environment.
Study authors conclude that minimizing or eliminating recess can negatively affect academic achievement, as growing evidence links recess to improved physical health, social skills and cognitive development.