Arizona is the latest state to pass a robust school recess mandate, calling for an equitable two-recess/day minimum standard for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. According to recess advocates, this marks a reversal of unhealthy practices that developed around high stakes testing and No Child Left Behind, in favor of a return to educating the whole child.
SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage other states to do the same. To get started, they advise using step-by-step guidance and evidence-based strategies to support school recess for all K-12 students and enhance active school environments. The two guidance documents, Strategies for Recess in Schools and Recess Planning in Schools: A Guide to Putting Strategies for Recess Into Practice, can be downloaded free of charge at: shapeamerica.org/recess.
The guidance documents provide a blueprint for schools to use in implementing successful recess programs for their students. They are designed for state and school district leaders who provide technical assistance and professional development on recess, as well as classroom teachers, recess and playground supervisors, support staff, school administrators, parent-teacher organizations, school health coordinators, advisory councils, parents and anyone interested in supporting recess in schools.
Strategies for Recess in Schools defines recess and identifies 19 evidence-based strategies schools can implement that increase student physical activity and academic achievement. Although most of the evidence and expert opinion for these strategies came from elementary schools, many of the strategies are also applicable to secondary schools. The intent is for school staff or groups working with schools to identify what is currently happening or not happening with recess in their school, and then use this information to develop a recess plan that serves all students.
Recess Planning in Schools: A Guide to Putting Strategies for Recess Into Practice complements the strategies document by guiding schools through the process of developing a written recess plan that incorporates the identified strategies. In addition, CDC and SHAPE America developed a customizable Recess Planning Template, which enables schools to record details of how they will organize and implement recess at school.
By diving into each of the five broad categories included in the Strategies for Recess in Schools document, school staff or committees will be able to answer specific questions which will help them examine and enhance an existing recess program, or develop a new recess plan for a school.
Download the two new guidance documents, Strategies for Recess in Schools and Recess Planning in Schools: A Guide to Putting Strategies for Recess Into Practice, free of charge at: shapeamerica.org/recess.
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