League of Women Voters advocates 20-minute recess periodsPosted: August 1, 2011
Elizabeth Bradsher, Tessie Wilson, Jim Raney, Tina Hone, and Brad Center listen to Helen Kelly
On July 28 Helen Kelly told the Fairfax County school board that the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area (LWVFA) supports a 20-minute daily recess period for elementary school students. Kelly, the League’s action director, referred to the annual report that the School Health Advisory Committee presented to the school board June 8.
“In its most recent Executive Summary Report, the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) recommended that schools specify a minimum daily recess period and insist that children cannot miss recess for failure to complete class assignments or for disciplinary reasons,” Kelly said. She also noted that The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that the minimum daily recess period should be at least 20 minutes in length.
“The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area supports both SHAC and NASPE in their recommendations,” Kelly said. “We believe that all elementary students should participate in a daily recess period lasting at least 20 minutes.”
“While it is important in reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity, exercise is not the only benefit students can gain from recess,” she said. “According to NASPE, besides offering students the opportunity to engage in physical activity, recess also allows them ‘to practice life skills such as cooperation, taking turns, following rules, sharing, communication, negotiation, problem solving and conflict resolution.’”
“We calculate that in order to have enough time to allow 20 minutes of recess per day, the overall amount of time the children spend in school would need to be increased by 50 minutes per week.” Kelly said. “Because of the many advantages it offers our students, we urge you to adopt the 20-minute minimum daily recess period for the 2012-2013 school year.”
SHAC also made recommendations regarding recess in it 2007 annual report, stating that recess should to be least 20 minutes per day with the exception of short Mondays. The staff responded in November 2007 that 10 minutes is all the time that is available for recess while still meeting the requirement for 990 hours of instruction annually. “By setting recess at 20 minutes, it would be necessary to extend the school day, or create a uniform weekly schedule,” the staff said.