A recent audit has shown that there is not enough recess time offered to elementary students in some public schools.
The audit was conducted by the Metro Nashville Public Schools at the request of school board members. Many of the area elementary schools offer recess, but it is only 15 minutes a day at most of the schools. Board members want to increase the time.
At least 90 minutes of physical activity in each week of school is required by Tennessee law. Physical education classes can be included in the total, along with recess, which is considered unrestricted free play that is usually outdoors. Board member Amy Frogge has suggested the district adopt 20 minutes of daily recess.
“Most research indicates that young children need at least 20 minutes of recess time,” Frogge said. “We need to increase recess time across the district for healthy child development and social-emotional learning.
“Our audit clearly shows that the majority of MNPS elementary students do not receive the recommended 20 minutes or more of daily recess.”
Frogge has argued that an era of state-mandated standardized tests has pushed aside recess, arts and other non-tested courses and other areas at many districts, including MNPS. She’s asked for another audit on recess time at middle schools and wants a task force to review the final report when it is finished.
There’s widespread variation at the elementary level.
At 11 MNPS elementary schools, recess is not part of daily schedules, the audit found, though it is “at the discretion of the teacher.” These include schools in Madison, East Nashville, the Nolensville Pike area and North Nashville.
Sixty-two out of 73 elementary schools, meanwhile, offer recess that is built into their daily schedules.
Three of them, though — Glencliff, Jones and Harpeth Valley elementary schools — offer recess on days when children do not take P.E. classes.