The Power of Play: Recess at Saint Matthias
The role of recess in an instructional day is one that has been off and on the hot seat for years. The “Today Show” has a poll on their website, and as of 8:50am this morning, over 13,476 people had voted YES to recess. Just over 100 had voted now. The poll showed that 99% of those answering felt students should have recess. The mentality is clear, but illogical if you have ever been around a child. Educational leaders feel that less “play time” means more learning. What they forget is that the body of research, and a child every time, will tell you that learning happens better and faster when children are giving social learning time. Let’s also not discount the lessons learned and practiced at recess. At Saint Matthias, we have two recess blocks a day for a total of 45 minutes. This policy is preK-8th grade. Arguments come up about instructional minutes and time lost to testing. I am so thankful that the team at Saint Matthias has always prioritized teaching students all the lessons that will lead them to success, from fractions to taking turns. The body of research is rather impressive on this topic, and it supports both the public opinion on the Today Show website, and our own policies.
With our standardized testing scores to support us, we know and see the power of play on academic growth. 80% of our students of Saint Matthias this fall were at or above average in reading, with over a third of the student body “above average” in math and reading. We are exceptional and continue to push students to learn and do more.
Our prayers are with those teachers and students in Orange County, Florida and all over the country who are strapped with educational policy that does not help the whole child grow and learn.
-Abigail Greer, Principal