Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
Yikes! No recess in all elementary schools in East Providence, Rhode Island? They can’t be serious!
This is the new directive teachers and parents are facing as we prepare for a new school year. As of September 8, 2010 school recess has been essentially eliminated in the city. No chance for young children to have any unstructured time to play. No chance for a daily dose of sunshine and fresh air. No chance for children to "get a break" from the rigors of academics.
Denying a child 10-15 minutes of free play time goes against all connections between physical and mental well-being.
Can any adult imagine their workday with no time to get a coffee, check e-mail, or make a call? No "unstructured time" at all in their workday? Why would any adult, who would not accept that for themselves, think it would be acceptable for a child?
The East Providence school administration is increasing Physical Education times, to comply with state law. This school year the children will get two fifty-minute periods of Phys. Ed., twice a week. All of this time is very structured. What will happen on those other three days when there is no Phys. Ed.? Their rational is that increased Physical Education time, as well as a partnership with the local YMCA to provide in-class programs will be enough.
So much of carefree childhood has already been robbed from our children. It is hard to understand why school administrators are taking away more. Isn’t it time to stand up and ask, "When are the needs of our school children going to be put first?"
I would love to hear parent’s thoughts and ideas concerning the importance of recess. Please leave your comments below.