Subjects: Behavioral health
Third graders that got 15 minutes or more of recess per day had better classroom behavior than those who were continually holed up in school, according to a study in Pediatrics.
To reach this conclusion, Romina Barros and colleagues from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine examined the records of 11,000 children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999.
The scientists relied on teacher’s ratings of kids’ behavior.
Thirty percent of children in the study received no or minimal recess. These kids were more likely to be black, belong to a lower socioeconomic status, reside in the city and attend public school.
Even with these variables stewing in multivariate analysis, the beneficial association between recess and salutary classroom behavior remained significant.
Barros wants the word out. “Kids need that break because the brain needs that break,” she told the New York Times.
In fact, “recess should be part of the curriculum,” Barros emphasized. “You don’t punish a kid by having them miss math class, so kids shouldn’t be punished by not getting recess.”
Barros’ findings are consistent with recent studies of middle school students which revealed a direct relation between the number of fitness tests passed by children and their academic performance.
Another recent study of kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder showed that brief promenades improved attention and concentration as much as a slug of medication.
Scientists believe that people can concentrate on work, reading or exams for so only long before fatiguing.
Getting away from it all, even for short periods, appears to give aching brains time to reboot.