Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The 4 Rs: Reading, 'Righting, 'Rithmatic, and Recess

An article in the New York Times today suggested that "The best way to improve children’s performance in the classroom may be to take them out of it. New research suggests that play and down time may be as important to a child’s academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades." This is consistent with what I've observed as a parent.

Public schools in NYC generally send the kids outdoors to play after lunch unless it is raining heavily or less than 32 degrees F. Even in these cases, principals fudge a little (if it is 30 but very sunny, out they go!), knowing that afternoon classes will be more difficult if the kids haven't had a real opportunity run around. With the overcrowding that exists in many city schools, using the gym isn't really an option (because other grades or schools that share the building are already scheduled to use it), and there generally is no where else for the kids to go except maybe to watch a video in the classroom or auditorium, or to play boardgames quietly in the cafeteria.

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