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Health Experts Release New Guidances for Improving Recess in U.S. Schools

Health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) have partnered to release a series of guidances intended to help both elementary and secondary school leaders improve recess for the benefit of U.S. students.

The first guidance, Strategies for Recess in Schools, provides 19 evidence-based recommendations designed for leaders interested in "making leadership decisions, communicating behavioral and safety expectations, creating a supportive environment, engaging the school community and gathering information," said the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Examples of some of the 19 recommendations include encouraging leaders to:

  • identify and document recess policies
  • train school staff and volunteers for recess
  • teach conflict resolution skills
  • provide a combination of recess strategies
  • collect information on recess to show the effect on student and school outcomes

The guidance explains each recommendation in detail, providing readers with the evidence for why each recommendation will benefit the school's recess program and as a result improve outcomes for students.

The health experts behind the new material also reiterate previous findings, such as the finding that students benefit most from at least 60 minutes of mild-to-rigorous physical activity every day.

In the second document released today, A Guide to Putting Strategies for Recess into Practice, the experts help leaders choose strategies that complement their school recess plan.

For each recommendation, experts help school leaders ask the right questions to decide how implementing the recommendations might help their school recess program improve.

The document also provides a series of resources that leaders can look at to guide their improvement plans. Examples of resources include a guide for recess during inclement weather, a public playground safety handbook and conflict resolution techniques for school children.

"These are timely and powerful resources that will assist schools to develop, implement and evaluate recess as part of a comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP)," said Holly Hunt, Chief, CDC's School Health Branch in a press release.

To access the newly-released guidances for yourself, see here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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