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Texas School Experiments With Multiple Recesses Per Day

Texas School Experiments with Multiple Recesses Per Day

At Eagle Mountain Elementary School in Fort Worth, Texas, students are allowed to have recess four times per day after being part of a project designed by Texas Christian University kinesiologist Debbie Rhea to see how play can improve student achievement.

"This year Eagle Mountain Elementary started tripling recess time, from 20 minutes to an hour. The program also focuses on character development —things like empathy and positive behavior,” said NPR.

Eagle Mountain isn’t the only school Rhea intends to work with in the future; Rhea will be taking on projects to increase recess time in other schools in Texas, California and Oklahoma this year.

The big question is: Does increasing recess boost student achievement? In Finland, the reliance on play time is said to be part of the reason why the country routinely scores highest on international education assessments.

For teachers in Eagle Mountain Elementary, they said they’ve already began to notice some positive improvements.

Cathy "Wells and her fellow first grade teacher, Donna McBride, have six decades of teaching between them and say this year feels different. They were nervous about fitting in all the extra recess and covering the basics, but Wells says that halfway through the school year, her kids are way ahead of schedule,” said NPR.

Wells told NPR her students are far less distracted- a big change she’s noticed is that her students are using their pencils to write, not to chew on, grind or break because of pent-up energy.

So while an increase focus on increasing academic time and making more time for core subject learning has swept across American schools, maybe they would better benefit from following in Eagle Mountain’s footsteps and taking a break.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

1/4/2015

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