As a kid, I vividly recall having a “recess” time. Even now, my two kids (2nd and 4th graders, respectively), have a daily recess (the 4th grader less now than my 2nd grader) and Physical Education (P.E.) at least twice a week. However, there are many schools where recess is shortened and P.E. is non-existent; in the former’s case, at least one parent is hoping to make a statement by taking her school district to task for such a decision.
A cutback in dedicated recess time for elementary students in the Manatee County School District is causing concern among some parents and motivating one parent to bring a motion before the school board to restore recess time.
Kate Smith, an estate lawyer with two children at Virgil Mills Elementary School, began researching the issue when her third-grade daughter came home from school stressed and upset one day because she did not have recess. Smith also has a son in kindergarten at the school.
“I promised her I’d do something about it,” Smith told the Bradenton Herald. Smith said she plans to bring a motion before the school board during a regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday to ask the board to reconsider its approach and reinstate the process.
Smith’s issue is simple: her daughter’s emotional health has been compromised by the change. For those of you who do not have young children, I can tell you that my kids adore Recess. It’s a way for them to decompress from the school day, up to that point, as well as reboot their young minds for any remaining instruction time. If they didn’t have it, they would likely be less focused and more irritable.
Case in point: my 9-year old son has often stated his displeasure for a reduction in his Recess time since moving from the primary school—where his younger sister still attends—to the elementary school. There are days he’s lucky to get 15-minutes, whereas she still receives 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the day. Their moods come dismissal time are markedly different as she’s often ready to tell me everything about her day and he’s less forthcoming.
Florida State Statute stipulates that each school district must provide 150 minutes of physical education each week for students in kindergarten through grade 5. The Manatee County School District 2014-15 student progression plan states the elementary schools must provide 30 consecutive minutes of physical education daily for students
At any rate, it’ll be interesting to see what comes of this, but it’s likely to be a case where nothing is done and that child will be forced to adjust to a new type of school day. It’s a shame but, these days, it seems, when it comes to the overall health and well-being of our youth, the powers that be are more talk than action.
Even so, as a parent, situations like this one just mean you have to be more pro-active about getting your child moving. You simply cannot rely on others to instill those values for you. Times have changed and so must we.