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Research Shows High-Quality Recess Programs Increase Student Productivity

According to Stanford University research published in the "Journal of School Health," children respond well to the overall positive school climate set by a quality recess program. When well-organized recess is part of the school day, students feel more engaged, safe, and positive about their time and environment.

"Positive school climate has been linked to a host of favorable student outcomes, from attendance to achievements," the study noted, as reported by Clifton Barker for The study cites four key elements contributing to positive student response: (1) physical and emotional safety at school, (2) positive relationships with peers and adults, (3) support for learning, and (4) an institutional environment that fosters school connectedness and engagement.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics has outlined a set of guidelines intended to help schools develop positive recess programs -- guidelines necessary because recess today does not always meet these standards," reports. "Many schools had cut back recess programs watering down their effectiveness, or eliminated them altogether."

Research also found that adults are integral to the recess experience.

"Recess seems like a time for kids to get some exercise or just have fun, but unless there are adults actively paying attention to and supporting a high-quality recess, it can be a time when kids feel unsafe, physically and emotionally," said Milbrey McLaughlin, the David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy at Stanford.

Less bullying among students was also found at schools with higher quality recess programs, and student-to-student conflict wasn't as rampant. reported: "One student said, 'There's a lot more collegiality between the kids. They're using "Hey, good job, nice try," instead of "Ha ha you're out."'" The study showed "students more often initiated games in the pro-recess environments, and female students felt more engaged overall."

Read the full story.

By Samantha DiMauro, Education World Contributor

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