On December 31st, 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement on the importance of recess during the school day. The policy statement appears in the association’s medical journal and it states “recess is a necessary break in the day for optimizing a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.” (You can see the full text here.)
Studies have shown that recess allows a break from the structured cognitive tasks that occur during the school day and optimizes learning.
Recess also provides children with the opportunity to develop communication skills, problem solving skills and coping skills in addition to providing them with an opportunity for physical activity. The AAP views recess as an extension of unstructured free play time that is necessary to the well being and development of children. Additional press coverage and information can be seen on this the Time website and over at the LA Times.
What does this information mean for parents? Parents can continue be advocates for their children by being involved in their school districts by volunteering, becoming active in the local school/parent organization and advocating for the inclusion of recess during the school day. Parents can also continue to promote physical activity within their family’s daily routines that allows time for unstructured play as well as breaks during structured learning activities.
Remember, the AAP recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day for children.
How can pediatric therapists help? Pediatric therapists can address a myriad of concerns regarding a child’s physical health, social skills, cognitive skills, and emotional health. Physical therapists can help address any issues that may prevent a child from being active during recess due to difficulty with coordination, balance, strength or endurance. An occupational therapist can help work on concerns relating to coordination, fine motor skills, and problem solving techniques. A speech therapist can assist with communication concerns and social skills.
We can also provide education to families on how to incorporate physical, social, and emotional skills to everyday life while addressing difficulties a child may have.
To find out more on how therapy services can help your child become more active and participate in recess, contact us at: 503-496-0385.
(Blog post courtesy of Crystal Bridges, DPT)