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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

Study Finds Children Need Recess To Thrive

January 26, 2009

Researchers announced Monday that limiting free time at school could cause disorderly classrooms and deprive children of exercise and an imperative possibility to socialize.

10,000 children aged 8 and 9 had better classroom behavior if they had a 15-minute break contrasting to those who did not have one, Dr. Romina Barros and colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York stated.

“The available research suggests that recess may play an important role in the learning, social development, and health of children in elementary school,” the research team published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Unfortunately in this day and age, children receive less free time and less physical activity at school “because many school districts responded to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 by reducing time committed to recess, the creative arts, and even physical education in an effort to focus on reading and mathematics,” they noted.

The researchers also found that children not getting recess were more likely to be black, from poor families and attending public schools in large cities.

“This raises concern in light of evidence that many children from disadvantaged backgrounds are not free to roam their neighborhoods or even their own yards unless they are accompanied by adults,” the team noted. “For many of these children, recess periods may be the only opportunity for them to practice their social skills with other children.”

Barros made a statement to Reuters that other published research noted that underprivileged children frequently are deprived of free time because “those schools are located in very violent neighborhoods, and there is the concern that children may get exposed to fights or gun shooting while in recess.”

She also added that these schools are often frequently without time set aside for recess or physical activity.

A previous study discovered that free time has decreased for U.S. children since the 1970s. Simultaneously, the majority of elementary schools in Asia offer a 10-minute break after 40 to 50 minutes of lessons, the report added.

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