No Recess

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Eliminating Recess

Recess is a playground for debate amongst educational researchers and philosophers. In primary schools, twenty five percent of injuries will take place on the playground (Hill). Bullying and unhealthy competition are areas of recess concern and thus recess is considered a waste of academic time. Is this a valid reason to completely eliminate recess in elementary schools? Forty percent of the nation’s 16,000 schools have either already modified, replaced, or consider eliminating recess (LaHoud). As far back as 1884, a paper written by W.T. Harris, a philosopher and educator, debated the question of whether recess should be allowed or dismissed in elementary schools (Brosnihan). When delivering his address before the Department of Superintendents of the National Education Association (DSNEA), Harris presented moral arguments defending recess by saying that the students' physical needs outweigh the loss of discipline in the classroom. One hundred five years later in the United Nations' Convention on the Right of the Child, adults are still trying to defend recess for their children (Brosnihan). On the recess debate playground, concerned Americans must strongly consider the arguments of the advocates of recess, based on their scientific and philosophical analysis and their simple common solutions. One reason that schools are considering eliminating recess is that school administration is afraid of law-suits that may be filed if a child is injured during recess. Many law-suits have already taken place and in both cases the school district has been held financially responsible. In reaction to these law-suit, schools feel they have no other option but to cancel recess from a child's daily activities. School policy makers consider it illogical for the schools to allow children to play when they are knowingly endangering the students. Safety procedures are already in place at schools to prevent injuries yet some injuries still occur because of the child's activity level not the school's safety procedures (Quis). The extreme reaction of eliminating recess is not the best solution for preventing playground injuries. Simple procedures such as maintaining safer playground equipment, enforcing safe play , requiring proper play apparel and instructing students in recess activities create a healthy recess environment. If the playground equipment is old, rusty, and in poor repair the children who are constantly playing on it are more likely to receive a cut, scape or a more serious injury. Following manufacturer's recommended age for use can help equipment stay in good repair and help prevent injuries that occur when play equipment is not used by an age appropriate user. Another safety procedure is to fence in the playground area. Children are curious and tend to explore new places. By having a fence around the playground the area that the teacher or supervisor must watch is limited. Maintaining the grass or other soft play surfaces thus when a child falls he is less likely to scrape a knee. Another safety step would be to teach the children how to play safe, cooperative, gross motor games; such as, basketball, four-square, jump rope, and follow the leader. The school will need to set and enforce clear limits and guidelines for its playground equipment use; such as, taking turns, not climbing up the slide or climbing on top of the monkey bars. By limiting the type of apparel worn on the playground the children will also stay safer. Flip-flops or heeled shoes are hard to run in and are easy to trip and injure oneself. By requiring children dress in proper play apparel, policy enforcers are keeping students safe for play purposes and also weather protection can be enhanced. Safer procedures rather than eliminating is a way to eliminate child injuries and the risk of law suits. Parents and anti-recess proponents argue that because there is not enough supervision on a school's playground, children are more prone to...
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