Studies Find That Recess is a Good Thing

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This fall, children in Orange County, Florida schools will be having a pleasant re-addition to their school day: recess.

Frustrated by the intense pressure to continually focus on academics, parents rose up and demanded that the long-revered time of play be reinstated in local elementary schools. As a result, grade school children will now have 20 minutes of recess each day. (Ooooooh!)

Such news comes on the heels of a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which demonstrates that the more children are exposed to the outdoors – particularly “green spaces” – the more likely they are to retain and gain information.

For the large study involving 2,623 schoolchildren in Barcelona, researchers first assessed the amount of greenery around the children’s homes, along their commutes to school, and surrounding the schools themselves. They then measured the children’s working memories and attention spans using a series of word and number tests.

The children who had more vegetation around their schools showed more progress in working memory and attention over the course of a year, a finding that held true even after the authors controlled for socioeconomic status.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has noted for several years that recess promises significant physical, emotional, and mental benefits to students.  

Aren’t you glad we now have scientific studies to tell us what most people once knew through common sense?

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