Looking back on favorite grade school memories, it’s no surprise that recess ranks so highly on the list. Organized soccer games, playing tag on the playground, competitions over who can swing higher—it’s that unstructured, long-awaited time during the day where kids get to be, well, kids. Just last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) placed a stamp of approval on it, releasing a new policy statement in its journal, Pediatrics, saying “recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom.”
Many parents are unaware that some states don’t require its schools to allot time for recess. Perhaps you are now questioning if physical activities or other opportunities for classroom physical activity breaks are mandated in your state, or wonder if your child’s school meets the nationally recommended minutes per week for physical education. Enter the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report: Status of Physical Education in the USA. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recently released an infographic illustrating its national survey findings. Amongst the findings is that only nine states require elementary schools to provide recess and only six states require physical education in every grade.
(see Be an Example)
Be a Recess Advocate:
Are your children getting their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day in school? Parents have an opportunity to use these findings to help eliminate loopholes in the school system. Talk about physical activity and physical education with your child’s principal or at a PTA/PTO meeting. NASPE and the Together Counts™ program urge parents to join efforts to be more proactive and effective advocates for physical education and physical activity to ensure our schools are offering physical activity before, during and after school every day.
To identify your state’s profile and access the full report, visit www.naspeinfo.org/shapeofthenation.
Sinu Patel, who works in the communications unit of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education(NASPE), wrote this post on behalf of the NASPE and the Together Counts™ Program. She contributes to the public and media relations efforts for NASPE/AAHPERD.