Recess Is More Than Play Tim: Learn Through Play

Common core standards in schools have become more rigorous over the past few years. Required tests have made the school year a busy time while teachers rush and struggle to prepare their students. Because of this recess is often getting cut out of a child’s day. Many parents and professionals are saying that the benefits from school recess range farther than just expelling pent-up energy, and that it should be required to be scheduled into their child’s day at school every day.

Unstructured free play with peers in the form of recess provides an educational experience all its own. On the playground children are able to develop their individual identity and personality traits as well as improve their self-esteem. Recess can be much more than play time and can improve not only a child’s self control but also their behavior, their concentration and their grades.


In the classroom pent-up energy can result in poor concentration. Just 20 minutes of free play is enough to see the benefits of school recess. Children like to run and play, and when they are allowed to do just that, concentration levels will be better and more work and learning will ultimately get done inside the classroom.


Most parents and teachers know that children have a lot of energy and they need to expel that energy in some way. If they don’t, that energy tends to be bottled up and eventually comes out by way of a meltdown or tantrum. School recess helps control a child’s behavior and allows them to enjoy the release and freedom of playing outside or in a gym. Most teachers find that when they allow kids to have recess during the day, their students act out far less and the need for discipline decreases.

The Real World

The classroom setting is very structured. It is designed this way to make sure learning is taking place and each student is getting the assistance he needs. When children venture out onto the playground or the gym, the real, more unstructured world begins. A child will encounter other kids who may not be so nice and they will need to learn how to deal with this kind of behavior. Physical challenges exist, like how to climb to the top of the monkey bars. These are things that a child will need to figure out on their own and it’s all part of early childhood development. When children learn to resolve conflict on their own in a play setting, this can ease the teacher’s burden. This ability to work things out without an adult’s help (which only gets easier as a child gets older) will transfer to the classroom and students may begin to work together better.

Social Skills

Learning social skills is just as important as the learning that occurs inside the classroom. Social skills, however, are not generally taught but rather must be developed on their own. When a child enters the playground during recess, factors come in to play such as: Whom will she play with? How will she approach another child? Children need to develop their social skills in order to make friends, and this is tough to do when sitting at a desk in a classroom.

In this century more and more children are sitting down in front of the television to watch a show or play a video game. Playtime at home and the benefits from school recess are important for a child’s growth. It may not seem important, but a child who is allowed to play each day will grow to be a far more high-functioning adult. A child who didn’t socialize enough when he was young may grow up to be more aggressive and less tolerant of others. Teachers and parents alike should reconsider the benefits of recess. A short amount of time set aside each day for fun can help ease the burden of the workload and increasingly longer school days. More and more pressure seems to be placed on children and fewer adults realize the importance of a kid just being a kid sometimes. Classroom learning, extra-curricular activities and homework are all necessities for raising an intelligent participant in society, but sometimes, recess and free play are just as important.

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