April 17, 2012
Many kids will tell you recess is their favorite part of the school day. Currently students have 30 minutes for recess, but a group of parents is petitioning the school board for more playtime, especially for younger elementary school students.
"I think they could use the time outside. They need to be able to move around, it seems to help more. And the more fun they have and the more outside activities they seem to do better. It helps them focus when they're in the classroom," said Jennifer Anderson.
The petition calls for an increase to 75 minutes of recess each day. While Albemarle County educators endorse active learning, they're not sold on more than doubling the amount of playtime.
"We agree that students should be active learners, especially kindergarten students" commented Billy Haun, Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning. "But I am a bit concerned that if we were to increase the amount of recess time to what I hear is in the petition, that then you may be getting into affecting the instruction and the core content areas about math and reading and literacy."
The online petition, which began circulating on Monday and will be presented to the school board next month, was started by a former teacher who now has young kids in public school. She believes play improves development, memory and has a number of other benefits for young learners.
Haun agrees, which is why he says the district strives to integrate physical and mental activity into its classroom lesson plans in order to keep kids active. Still, some parents are subscribing to the notion that more playtime is necessary.
To view the online petition, click here.