Taking Away Recess as Punishment – Does it Help?

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  • kids playing volleyball at recess“77 percent of school principals report that they withhold recess as punishment, even as they simultaneously sing the praises of recess as a factor in academic, cognitive, and social development.
  • 8 in 10 principals acknowledge that time to play has a positive impact on achievement, and
  • two-thirds of principals state that students listen better after recess and are more focused in class.”

– reported in a New York Times Article Students Who Lose Recess Are the Ones Who Need It Most.

According to the article that quotes Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and former teacher, students who are kept in at recess stand to lose:

1. Brain power
2. Connection with peers
3. Relationship with teachers
4. Opportunities to learn a different behavior

Read the complete article here: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/13/students-who-lose-recess-are-the-ones-who-need-it-most/

The Crucial Role of Recess in School

In 2013, The American Academy of Pediatrics updated it’s Policy Statement.

Recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.

The Crucial Role of Recess in School

Read the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) Position Statement Physical Activity Used as Punishment and/or Behavior Management.

SHAPE opposes administering or withholding physical activity as a form of punishment and/or behavior management … and addresses the inappropriate use of or withdrawal from physical activity as a disciplinary consequence, both within and outside of the school environment.

Read More

Taking Away Recess as Punishment – Find a Better Way by Parent Advocate Sharon Lutz. Sharon describes how a creative team can help a child have a positive experience instead of a negative one.

Quiz: How Much Recess Does Your Child Get Each Day?

Play Deprivation and Behavior Problems

Physical Activity Other Than Physical Education – State policies on Recess or Physical Activity Breaks – from the National Association of State Boards of Education.

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frustrated mom

I just found out that my son’s teacher is taking away recess from him (he is 5 and in a MID self-contained classroom) and making him sweep classrooms and clean tables. At the beginning of the year I had a meeting with the principal because the teacher would take the other students outside for recess and leave my child to sit in the clinic (he has severe asthma and we live in the south). It was determined that the class could have recess in the gym so my child could benefit from the socialization and activity. I don’t know what to do. I have had county personal come out to speak with the teacher to no avail. I was wondering if anyone has been successful writing a child must get recess in an IEP.


Your parent training and information center may be able to give you some suggestions. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center


I”m sorry, how is this not common sense? if a child has ADHD, isn’t the LAST thing you want to do is take away their recess? I mean, come on people, this isn’t brain surgery.


Sadly, teachers and Principals are doing it every single day. Even to complete school work they can’t understand. And the schools are getting away with doing it.