I read today about a school in Texas where they decided to give kids more recess time, more free time, more unstructured play time. The administrators were worried this experiment would fail however they have found kids are doing much better in school. They are listening better, paying attention better and getting more accomplished than before when they were worn to a frazzle each day with limited free time.
It amazes me how adults never stop to think that kids are just small people who are subject to the same stressors and feelings we adults have. Think about it, how do you feel as an adult when you work all of the time, rarely finding time to rest, relax, or just simply play? You feel restless, and find it hard to focus on tasks set before you. We all need time to recharge our internal batteries, we all need time to unwind and we all stress out when worked too hard. I know this is how I feel when I am working too hard. I become overly stressed and have a hard time focusing on things I need to accomplish.
So, then why do administrators do this to children? They must think these young people who have experienced so little in life are super human and able to handle stress that adults struggle handling. Children go to school and in some schools begin their work day while eating breakfast. Almost every second of their school day is structured from the time they arrive until the time they leave in the afternoon. The younger students get recess in the afternoon if their work is done. The older students get one recess break before lunch. Usually that is 10-15 minutes long. That is about all. These young people work hard all day long, they listen, sit still and are expected to learn without ever really getting to re-charge.
I find it sad that so many administrators around the United States believe working children this hard is the way they will learn. Learning is stressful and well in all honesty I can't see how it is fun for these young people. So that said, it is no wonder the drop out rate in the US is so high. I commend Texas for giving more recess a try. Kids need to have fun, they need frequent breaks, they need to play and re-charge so they can learn.