From 30 minutes to an hour, schools provide free play time to the students during the day. Some schools also incorporate a short recess of 10 to 30 minutes is provided in addition to the lunch recess for students to have a quick breakfast or water or just rest before they head to their next lesson.

Gallup poll of 1,951 Principals reveled a strong impact of recess on academic achievement. Students listened better and remained more focused after recess. American Academic of Pediatrics too strongly recommend timetabling of recess in the daily schedule of the schools as they “believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.” 

The  Benefits of recess in school is far ranging. From having cognitive, social, emotional benefits to physical benefits, recess, indoor or outdoor gives time to students to be involved in activity, having casual conversation with friends or just read.  Learning, therefore does not happen only in the classroom but also during the recess where children develop their social skills. Even a short break of 30 minutes has a very positive impact of student learning (Gallup, 2010).

This however, comes with its own challenges. Rise in discipline issues, difficult to supervise at all times, specially in schools with large numbers or area. An unbelievable  77% of the Principals reported taking away recess time as punishment.  The answer may not necessarily lie in removing of diminishing the time of recess but in finding solutions to manage it better. Staff need to be better trained, student body could be more actively involved, stagger the recess time or mobilize staff more efficiently.

Interestingly governments too do not mandate the duration of a recess in school. Some don’t mandate a recess at all! However, as studies are conducted and their findings shared, many governments have now started to act and have now started giving clear directives. A study conducted in Finnish schools reveals that not only is there a  positive correlation between recess and student engagement but also that recess has a strong impact on students who are in their transitional phase . When student move from junior to middle school or from middle to high school, they use this time to socially and emotionally connect with their peers. The time spent on the fields helps them burn the extra energy, forge friendships and build social grace. Schools in Finland also give multiple breaks to their students.  After every 45-minute lesson the students get a 15-minute break. Over and above this, the schools also allot a longer break of thirty minutes.

Anthony D Pellegrini , in his study, The Recess Debate: A Disjuncture between Educational Policy and Scientific Research states that, “regarding recess supervision, the survey indicated that teachers assumed responsibility in 50 percent of the cases and teachers’ aides in 36 percent. Among the aides, 86 percent had no formal training for supervision. This is not a trivial finding. A well-trained supervisor can both support the positive social interactions of children and guard against aggression and bullying.”

“Play is the highest form of research- Albert Einstein”

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