The question of whether or not children get enough recess time is under review in some school districts. Time for playing outside in some areas is very limited, and parents are calling for more time to extend physical activity.
In some Nashville schools the time given to recess outside varies widely from very little to longer than the state requires. Principals of individual schools usually determine how much time is in the schedule for recess.
Some parents and school board members want to extend physical activity for children, and Metro Nashville Public Schools is conducting an audit of the recess time in each school. The reseults will be released to the board of education.
Tennessee law requires at least 90 minutes of physical activity in each week of school, but that can include physical education classes in addition to recess.
Metro school board member Amy Frogge is pushing for “medical research and evidence” to set a new recess standard — she’s suggested perhaps 30 minutes a day — arguing that many elementary schools in Nashville offer less than half that amount. A fierce critic of the influx of testing into public schools, Frogge believes a focus on assessments throughout the year has replaced free play that recess provides.
“Students need sufficient recess time for exercise for health development, and young children need free play,” she said. “We’ve become so fixated on test scores that we’ve lost sight of the needs of children and the real purpose of education.”
The National Association of Sports and Physical Education recommends that young children spend 155 minutes a week in school taking part in physical activity, which could include physical education or recess. It has suggested at least 20 minutes a day of recess alone and one hour of combined activity, in school and out of school.