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Toolkit helps school recess provide physical, cognitive, social, benefits :

January 10, 2017

Health experts are helping schools create more beneficial recess programs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) released two guidance documents today that can be used by school administrators, teachers and parents interested in reshaping recess.


“Daily recess, monitored by well-trained staff or volunteers, can optimize a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development,” SHAPE America CEO E. Paul Roetert, Ph.D., said in a news release. “Recess contributes to the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity for students and helps them apply the knowledge and skills they learn in an effective health and physical education program.

Strategies for Recess in Schools includes 19 evidence-based recommendations on making leadership decisions, communicating behavioral and safety expectations, creating a supportive environment, engaging the school community and gathering information. The guidance applies to both elementary and secondary schools.

The second document, Recess Planning in Schools: A Guide to Putting Strategies for Recess Into Practice, provides additional advice on implementing these recommendations.

The Academy supports recess in schools and touted the benefits in a 2013 AAP policy statement.

“Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom,” according to the policy from the AAP Council on School Health. “But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits.”

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