Last school year, students at GMS were polled to design their perfect school. As the faculty dug through student responses, they organized what they were seeing to identify places in which they could act to improve the overall well-being of the school. Overwhelming, the students requested the inclusion of recess in their school day. Students stating that they needed to move, they need to talk, and they needed a break covered the responses. In an effort to allow student voices to be heard, the sixth-grade team decided to look into altering the 2017/2018 schedule to include a 20-minute daily recess.
“I know a lot of people think that recess should be over by the time kids get to middle school, but the truth is, this is when kids need it the most,” states sixth grade Language Arts teacher Megan Bechard. “Their bodies and brains are growing as they reach puberty and they need physical activity and a break during their learning. I’m glad our school is taking the initiative to give kids what they need the most.” Research backs Bechard on her stance. The creative, social, and emotional benefits of play time are crucial for students during these formative years. While the physical benefits of recess are obvious, studies show that recess can be linked to a rise in attendance, achievement scores, and an overall positive school environment.
Teachers within the sixth-grade team have unanimously reported that recess breaks have been a positive part of their daily schedule. “As a co-teacher who works with multiple classes, I have seen how 20 minutes a day helps students burn off energy and refocus on academics,” states sixth grade team member Brooke Vorhoff. “Recess is a short break from content instruction but is proving to be worth every minute,” states Racheal Fuller, sixth grade Math and Science teacher. “Recess has cut down on in-class distractions by giving them an out of class outlet to let out some built up energy.” Teachers and students alike are responding to Middle School recess so positively that it looks as if there is no end in sight. As the school year continues, GMS is eager to see how recess benefits the students’ overall health.