Day 60 (of 183) Why I once cancelled recess and would love to do it again
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our gym time and free play concepts since I got a phone call from a newspaper asking “what we do and why we do it”. (hopefully more on that later!)
Part of our current school flow includes free play as part of gym (I’ll get to recess in a moment). Part of the methodology includes having as many students as active as possible for as long as possible. Not having a line up for one moment of glory/interaction with the teacher.
We like to have longer free time, because there has been some work on ‘deep play’ having a positive impact on further learning/transitions/anxiety….but it’s hard because students need to hit the 45 minute mark without fearing the end of the session (or an impending bell). I’ve compiled more on this in my blogs “physical literacy” component: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/physical-literacy/
But….Finland (of course) does it a little different – 45 minutes of work with a 15 minute free play break. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/01/finnish-schools-are-on-the-moveand-americas-need-to-catch-up/384358/
I know kinda crazy – work hard, take a break to help with transitions….
Stupid bell schedule though….
Yet in a previous school….we cancelled recess. Not the outside/play time, but the “thou shalt take a break now” time. We had our start bell and then nothing until our lunch bell (contract requires lunch break/recess). Here’s the crazy part: teachers took their classes out for a break when they needed it (either the kids or the teacher 😉
Weirdest moment was when I saw a class heading out for their first break at 11:15 (11:45 was lunch) and the teacher smiled and said the class had worked right up to that time and even though lunch was coming up soon, they were “done” and needed a break. A learning community that had traditionally been disconnected from schooling suddenly saw that they could have some ownership of the structure – especially when they needed a break. And yes, a different day that same class was heading outside before I had finished my first “lap of the school” because they really needed a break….
And that’s why I would love to once again cancel recess.. I’d like much more for learners to get a break when it is needed – not when a bell schedule says it must be.