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Thread: Once a week recess for first graders?

  1. #1

    Default Once a week recess for first graders?

    Paige is in a new school this year that apparently only has recess once a week on Fridays. Is this normal!? Does anyone else's child go to a school like this? What do you think about this policy?

    I really love everything else about her school. They are an A school and a lighthouse school... They have P.E. everyday.... But once a week recess for little kids sounds crazy to me.

  2. #2

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    As the mom of an active boy, that sounds nuts to me! My son is in Kindergarten, and he has P.E. once a week, and two 30 minute outdoor recesses every day. His teacher was actually explaining to me how thankful she was that the school does this not only for the exercise, but also because young children use recess to develop their social skills.




  3. #3

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    Yeah the social skills is a big thing I'm worried about too! Also they only have 20 mineuts for lunch.

    Also I just picked her up and they didn't have recess today... I called and asked what the official policy is and they don't any official recess... Teachers can take them out for a reward. I talked to her teacher and she said that she usually does try to take them once a week on Friday's but they didn't have time today. She said since they have P.E. every day that kinda takes the place of it. But P.E. is of course very structured. I am not thrilled about this at all.

  4. #4
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    I can not imagine my son not having a recess everyday to run out some of his energy. He is in first grade and they get 30 minutes a day and two days a week they have 30 minute PE.

    2/28/13

  5. #5
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    It is really sad to me. I feel it goes completely against the physical/emotional/cognitive design of a child. PE is good for physical activity, but free play is so much more than that. Free play is absolutely necessary for children, and OFTEN.
    I have really strong feelings/beliefs on this, so I should probably stop at that.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC's wifey View Post
    It is really sad to me. I feel it goes completely against the physical/emotional/cognitive design of a child. PE is good for physical activity, but free play is so much more than that. Free play is absolutely necessary for children, and OFTEN.
    I have really strong feelings/beliefs on this, so I should probably stop at that.
    I feel this way too. I had no idea about this when she started and at first I thought maybe they didn't go out because it was too hot... Then they did go out on Friday so I figured it was once a week. Then I find out today that there is no official recess. I feel like this a huge blow.

  7. #7

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    Totally nuts if you ask me. My son gets recess on a daily basis in fact on top of recess he has movement time during the whole day for 5 minutes after each subject. The kids being up and moving is so important. Its ridiculous how some schools are sending home letters griping about obesity then, we have these schools that want to take away P.E. and or recess.
    *** Lindsay ***



  8. #8

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    I'm sorry. I'm sure that is really upsetting.
    I can't imagine 6-7 year olds not having any sort of unstructured play all day. We're new to this school thing, so I just took a look at my son's schedule. I mentioned he has the two 30 minute outdoor recesses, and the last 40 minutes of the day is also unstructured indoor play time at the classroom's play centers. There's also 20 minutes for morning snack and 40 minutes for lunch/clean up since they eat in their classroom.
    I especially didn't like the idea that you mentioned that unstructured play time is used as a reward instead of them realizing it's something that children NEED.




  9. #9

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    That's nuts! It's just asking for trouble on so many counts!

  10. #10

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    Unfortunately this is the new norm in a lot of places. I taught at a school with no official recess as well, and we were highly discouraged from taking our kids out at all because we had to go to a local park and cross a street, and the school was in a very questionable neighborhood. I took them out whenever I could, but that was maybe once every 2-3 weeks. I was/am really against the no recess thing. Another factor for us was we were an early dismissal school. Years before I started teaching there, the staff and school board voted and decided to change the daily schedule. There a number of contributing factors, but a very important one was getting the kids and staff home long before dark for safety reasons. This meant a 20 minute lunch and no recess. My students only had one 30 minute P.E. a week, and then a second 30 minutes every other week. And if there were any kids that needed recess, it was the student body of my school. They were inner city kids who rarely left their homes when they were not in school because parents were working or non-existent and it was unsafe for them on the streets.

    When No Child Left Behind was implemented, many schools did away with recess to add instructional time to the day in hopes of improving scores. I think this was a horrible strategy, since as others have mentioned, there is a great importance in physical activity to help with development. Hopefully someone will bring this to the attention of the right people and recess will become a part of the school day again.


    Anne (37) DH (37) Olivia (4) Harrison (1)

  11. #11
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    Whoa that stinks!!! Why would they do that? Do they get an indoor recess? When do the teachers get a break? That is asking for trouble imo....

    Our school does 25 mins every day as long as it's not raining and above 32 degrees...yes they are out there in the winter and I think it's great! They also have gym 3 days/week. If it's raining or too cold recess is held in the gym.
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaurainFL View Post
    I'm sorry. I'm sure that is really upsetting.
    I can't imagine 6-7 year olds not having any sort of unstructured play all day. We're new to this school thing, so I just took a look at my son's schedule. I mentioned he has the two 30 minute outdoor recesses, and the last 40 minutes of the day is also unstructured indoor play time at the classroom's play centers. There's also 20 minutes for morning snack and 40 minutes for lunch/clean up since they eat in their classroom.
    I especially didn't like the idea that you mentioned that unstructured play time is used as a reward instead of them realizing it's something that children NEED.
    Wow that sounds great! That is really how it should be. I just don't understand how her school can possibly think this is a good idea. I am so disappointed. The school is very highly rated but this just so sad. They also have uniforms... Which in and of its self isn't too bad... But combine with the lack of unstructured free time makes me think the school is very ridged.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by macksmom View Post
    Whoa that stinks!!! Why would they do that? Do they get an indoor recess? When do the teachers get a break? That is asking for trouble imo....

    Our school does 25 mins every day as long as it's not raining and above 32 degrees...yes they are out there in the winter and I think it's great! They also have gym 3 days/week. If it's raining or too cold recess is held in the gym.
    Nope not even indoor recess :-/.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mom2CodySophia0811 View Post
    Totally nuts if you ask me. My son gets recess on a daily basis in fact on top of recess he has movement time during the whole day for 5 minutes after each subject. The kids being up and moving is so important. Its ridiculous how some schools are sending home letters griping about obesity then, we have these schools that want to take away P.E. and or recess.
    Sounds like Cody is SUPER lucky!! A school and/or teacher that recognizes that movement facilitates learning and integrating learning is FANTASTIC!!

    I don't even know what Elliot's daily schedule looks like. I do know they do have recess everyday, though and PE is once a week. I'm not super happy with the lack of communication with this school, but I guess I can put recess as a high note. I'm so sorry Ashleen!
    Dorcas (36) DH (37) 3/13



  15. #15
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    2 recesses a day plus PE 4 days a week for my kids through 4th grade. 5-8 have daily PE and one recess a day and an afternoon 15 minute "break" that can be used to stretch outside if they want. HS requires 4 semesters of PE at a minimum so that's where the daily PE goes down. But they still have a 45 minute lunch and morning and afternoon "stretch breaks" that are longer than normal between two class periods. They also have them starting school later-9:30-with before school activity opportunities including many of the sports practices. I would have loved to start that late and give me time to get all my working out done first-I focus on academics better post workout.

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  16. #16
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    Unfortunately, the way the educational system in this country has been headed, I'm not surprised, but do find it very sad that there would be no dedicated time for recess. Recess and PE are definitely not one in the same.

  17. #17

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    Wow, I am so jealous of all these awesome schedules. I am really just so sad for her to have to go through elementary school with no recess and only 20 minutes for lunch and no real unstructured time... That seems insane for a 6 year old. At least it is a little bit of a shorter day, her old school was from 8:30- 3:10 this school is from 9:00-2:55.

  18. #18

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    When she is even suppose to make friends? She has been sad because she hasn't really made any... Which, she is really outgoing and confident so she usually has no problem. At the park it's always a problem getting her to leave because she has made friends with some one.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashleen View Post
    Wow, I am so jealous of all these awesome schedules. I am really just so sad for her to have to go through elementary school with no recess and only 20 minutes for lunch and no real unstructured time... That seems insane for a 6 year old. At least it is a little bit of a shorter day, her old school was from 8:30- 3:10 this school is from 9:00-2:55.
    This seems crazy to me. Aren't working adults required to get at least a half hour for lunch and 10 min breaks during the work day?! That almost seems like less than adults get! I am wondering when the teachers eat lunch?
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by macksmom View Post
    This seems crazy to me. Aren't working adults required to get at least a half hour for lunch and 10 min breaks during the work day?! That almost seems like less than adults get! I am wondering when the teachers eat lunch?
    I ate with my kids in that 20 minutes. So basically I spent 10-15 min opening everything for my kindergartners who couldn't even get the straw in their milk cartons, and then I would scarf down my lunch. Some eat during prep periods, but all of my 30 minute preps were at 9 AM (they did morning preps for the younger kids so they didn't interfere with quality instructional time for the older kids - or so that is what they told us).

    This would be part of the reason I left after 3 years there. My other schools had better schedules, but this one was just a nightmare in every aspect...


    Anne (37) DH (37) Olivia (4) Harrison (1)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by preciousnd98 View Post
    I ate with my kids in that 20 minutes. So basically I spent 10-15 min opening everything for my kindergartners who couldn't even get the straw in their milk cartons, and then I would scarf down my lunch. Some eat during prep periods, but all of my 30 minute preps were at 9 AM (they did morning preps for the younger kids so they didn't interfere with quality instructional time for the older kids - or so that is what they told us).

    This would be part of the reason I left after 3 years there. My other schools had better schedules, but this one was just a nightmare in every aspect...
    Were you part of a union? Isn't that against policy to not get a break all day?
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by macksmom View Post
    Were you part of a union? Isn't that against policy to not get a break all day?
    Yes, we were, but Chicago is way corrupt and that was one tiny part of it. My principal ended up getting fired because they caught her embezzling money from the school. But she took an early retirement after she was arrested and before she was sentenced (reduced to a misdemeanor) and now gets her pension. Awesome, right? I did hear that after I left and a new principal came in they worked out a lunch schedule where the teachers were only on duty in the cafeteria one day a week and got the other days to actually eat with the other teachers during their lunch period. But still no recess.

    So sorry to hijack - I'll get back on topic - I promise! It really is tragic that any kids, especially little ones, don't get the proper breaks like recess. Maybe talk to other parents? Perhaps the PTA could start a campaign to bring it back to the school if enough parents feel strongly?


    Anne (37) DH (37) Olivia (4) Harrison (1)

  23. #23

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    It seems to be the norm in a lot of schools, and I think it is terribly sad. Last year my son was in Kindergarten, a charter school. The recess was left up to the teacher and she was taking them out at the end of the day, at 2:30.
    Among other things were not happy, so we moved him into a public school.

    Now he's in 1st grade and they give them 15 minutes once a day for recess. They have P.E. twice a week for 50 minutes but that is not the same as free play. Still not real happy about the short recess. We are still looking into alternatives.
    Shelley-mom to DS, 6

  24. #24

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    Yeah, it is not cool. I am kinda considering picking up a part time job on a near by island so she can go the charter school there (only people who work or live on the island can go). She started kindergarten there last year but we moved to NY for a job that turned out not to be as great as it sounded so we came back here because we like MUCH better. But dh doesn't work on the island anymore so we are stuck going to this school... Which I thought was going to be really good :/

  25. #25

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    Ashleen, maybe decide to get them to change the policy? It would be a HUGE service not just to your daughter but to all of the kids at the school, and probably the teachers. You could talk to some other parents (or the PTA) and see if you have any support. Research some of the reasons kids need exercise (social, obesity, cardio, developmentally appropriate, teachers get prep time...) and write it up into a proposal. See what you can do if you pull some power!! I think you would be awesome at it; you are very well spoken around here.

  26. #26

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    Intolerable! I agree, make change! It's the one and only part of homeschooling I don't like, that I'm not trying to change the system.

  27. #27

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    I am actually starting to look for studies and good arguments as to why it is incredibly important for young children to have recess. I can't be the only mom that feels this way. On Wednesday there is a first grade key to success night I plan on attending and trying to find out more.

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