RecessYikes! 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.