Getting RID of Recess?!

The Question:
Our school in Northern WI is planning on doing away with recesses…except for one at lunch. Our kinders have long bus rides and won’t get out much due to the snow and cold and darkness when they get home. Are other schools going this route?

The Answers:


As far as I know, Kinders in Virginia are entitled to recess. All elementary students are. We get 30 mins a day.


It is the law in fl for students to get 30 minutes of physical activity a day


We go out and then eat lunch. It is wonderful! Less tummy aches and kids eat more lunch. We do have the freedom to go outside later in the day as we see needed and yes, with full day k it is needed:)


My DD never like school lunch because they had to wait so long, by the time they finished, they had little to no recess left. I don’t know what they are doing now, but last year, they had 2 short recesses plus some time at lunch…they also had a before class activity called SPARKS, I think 2 or 3 times a week and PE at least once, maybe twice?


That is horrible! Our kinders get a recess after lunch and then again at the end of the day for 1/2 hour. If they get there early enough in the morning, they can play before they come in.


Please fight this. Write letters, band together with other teachers, get the teacher’s union involved, city council, state leg, whatever. Truly, this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Google: play, exercise, learning, etc. and you’ll find tons of peer reviewed articles stating that test scores DROP when we take recess. Louv’s work will also back you up. PM me for more articles and truly, honestly, I would be happy to write a letter stating that from all over the country, teachers support recess for students. (yes, I am one of THOSE people…always writing a letter 😉


We are required to give our students (K-5) 20 minutes of recess/exercise each day. We go outside (weather permitting) every day for 20 minutes except on our 2 days of P.E.


My kinders only have 20 minutes at the end of the day…. 😦


Our school is also moving to no recess, no centers next year. Most of this is coming about because of NCLB. Schools that are not making AYP ( which will be most all eventually) have to increase academic time to improve performance. TELL LAWMAKERS!! This is the only way things will return to sanity!


My class has 20 minutes after lunch. However, they take so long to get into their snow gear, with only one adult trying to help them and monitor behaviors, that they end up with 7 minutes outside. The other day one of the kids had many misbehaviors and they were only able to have 1 minute of play. My administrator has banned extra recess because that takes away from academics! Blech!! It’s all because of NCLB.


‎@ Jackie, Thankfully, NCLB, as it is currently, is on it’s way out, many states have received waivers… AYP is unreachable and kids need to move to learn. Period.


We get one 15 minute recess after lunch that we (teachers) have to monitor! that’s it!


We haven’t had recess in the city for ten years! Fortunately, my school has a very active PTO that demands it, so we do it on the sly, after lunch. But two recesses? No never, we’ve never had that. No child left behind is killing us. Maybe teachers from the suburbs and the cities need to get together to advocate for all kids.


Kids need a break to run and play. What about teacher breaks. If there is no recess, do the teachers get a break?


We get 3 recesses


There is RESEARCH that kids need a break — not sure why it takes research, but it does. (My great-grandmother, and yours, would be livid, right?) Wish I could find you some of said research. 8(


I live in rainy Washington and luckily we have a covered area so my kids get two ten minutes recesses and 15 minutes after recess. Even if it rains they play outside.


That is so sad!!! And not developmentally appropriate in the slightest! 😦 We have 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes after lunch, and it’s not nearly enough!


I teach in an all day Kindergarten. We have one 25 minute recess per day. We have PE once a week. We do not have rest or snack time in our schedule. I wish we could play more but our kids are very blessed to have a wonderful playground and track! We’re also lucky enough to have the best PE teacher around!!


Recess is so vital to development! Our school has a 15 min. morning recess and then lunch/recess to follow is 50 minutes total. Children need to play!


Try only 15 min, if we are lucky, and no PE at all!! At my old school my Kinder Kids had music, PE, recess, computer, library. My new school, where I’ve been this year, (new state,) there is no music, no PE. They do go to library only if the librarian is there. If she has a meeting or is not there, they do not get a sub and don’t go. So so so sad!! I also don’t have an assistant and have 25 kids. At the end of the day, I’m totally mentally and physically exhausted!!


My students get 25 minutes of pe a day, recess is short–should be 30 minutes, but lack of help. Kids get maybe 15 rarely go outside. Do have music 3 times a week. NCLB might be dying but MN is now going to implement Read well by 3rd grade basically saying same thing as NCLB. . . .most teachers I know work tails off.  We want all kids at level but without resources and parent support how will it happen! K 1 needs to be social and learning too, but no recess and no centers–are you kidding me! We need to start talking!


WELL we get 10 min at lunch and my class, not the other, gets PE 3x a week.. We get reprimanded if we are caught on the playground.. Our day is 8:30-3:00

Karen Burnat

Oh, how sad. So much learning in unstructured play….


We are only allowed one 20 recess/day after lunch. We do have PE 2 x’s/wk though. This is in TX.


I live & teach in Anchorage, Alaska. We only have one recess – at my school it’s before lunch. 20 minutes outside in temps to -10! This is my 8th yr in Anchorage & all the schools operate this way. Usually they get a little light mid-winter! lol

Lisa Marie

Half day kindergarten without recess or PE…if my kids are going nuts I can take them out, but with half a day to teach everything that is expected who has time? Little ones really need to have a break.


We have two a day this year, one AM and one PM. During years when we have had a later lunch, I take three. Young children need to play! What a nightmare this will be for you. 😦


I teach half day kindergarten….no recess, no PE, no art class, no music class, no field trips, no computer lab and library 2x month to exchange books (but classroom teachers must stay, it’s not a prep time even though there is a librarian)…..we used to have all our specials and recess/playtime…..but so much was added to our curriculum, so they took everything away from kindergarten. Teachers and parents have complained and spoke at school board meetings, but it fell onto deaf ears.


2 recesses. 1 at 10:40-11:10 and one at end of day, 3:20-3:35. PE 1x per week. We almost lost PE this year due to budget issues, but they did not rehire a music teacher when she moved instead.

The art & pe teacher teach some music and were in charge of winter, vocal music program. Not sure what the future will bring???


Our school does already

Mrs. Miner’s Kindergarten Monkey Business

This is not okay. What administrators do not seem to understand is that, in the end, they will be doing the exact opposite of their intent. How can they ignore the blaring brain research that states exercise amps up brain power?


We have done the opposite by adding recess and by dividing recess from lunch for our kindies. We now have one morning recess and a longer afternoon recess later in the day. It’s worked wonderfully!


That’s sad and going AGAINST latest, most current research. our district is actually ADDING recess (our 1-3rd grade get two – noon and afternoon)


No wonder so many kids are overweight or obese!


We only have one recess after lunch but the teachers can take out their kids if need too. I make sure that we go out or at least have recess in the room for 20 minutes….It is a shame that they don’t believe that PLAY is learning…..shame


We have one 15 min recess in the morning, one 15 min recess in the afternoon, and they can go out after lunch for about 7 minutes if they are done eating. We also have 25 min of free choice play time every day and 20 min each of computer lab, movement, and music every day. And we still get our academics done because the kids are able to focus during learning time. We are 8:45-4:05 in ks- feeling lucky after reading some of your comments!


Your school is making a HUGE mistake. There’s so much research about the importance of free play for socialization, exercise, executive function, academic improvement, etc. Tragic. You will have to have many mini-breaks during the day, free choice in the classroom, dance parties, etc. Totally ridiculous. How does this relate to No Child Left Behind, anyway? Recess improves academic achievement.


After reading all these comments, it is becoming increasingly clear to me why kids do not like school!


Do they have PE? This is child abuse. Everyone needs a break.


We only have a 20 minute lunch recess. We do add a 10 to 15 minute recess in the spring and fall when snowsuit weather is gone. The kids get too wet to have recess twice in the same day in the snowy weather. We just have an indoor break instead. At the end of the day we also have a 10 minute choice time before we pack for dismissal. I agree there is not enough time for play for our K kiddos.


Sad…people making decisions for our littles have NO idea what is best for them!


Not to mention the correlation between lack of exercise and obesity


Crap like this is why I Home-schooled my boys! Best thing I ever did!


We only have 1 30 min. recess at lunch. But we also have pe/music everyday and we have another special (computer, art, library, counselor, or an early out day) in the afternoon.


We have 30 minutes recess every day unless it is raining. We also have PE. You can even teach on the playground. What a concept. Shapes, counting, measurement, writing with sidewalk chalk, science experiments, not to mention problem solving, games, etc. What in the world is happening to developmentally appropriate Kindergartens?


We have 15 minutes. But transition is not included so most teachers cut it to 10 so they are on time for the reading block. We also have only 15 for rest.


We don’t have recess either, partly due the fact that our school is in an very unsafe neighborhood and it is to dangerous to take the students outside and partly because of the push to not “waste valuable learning time” However I include time during the day for movement through musical activities (educational of course) and games such as Simon Says, Follow the Leader, Hokey Pokey, etc. I try to do 10 mins in the morning between ELA and math then another 10 mins before lunch and then another 10 mins in the afternoon between science and social studies. The powers that be that make these rules have no clue what 5 and 6 year olds really need and are burning our children out at an early age. It is very sad 😦


4 thoughts on “Getting RID of Recess?!

  1. So, wrong to put this much pressure on the littlest ones. We have 2 15 minute periods of recess each day and 30 minutes at lunch. The kids also get an extra 30 minutes for PE each week. I cannot imagine how restless they would be without all the recesses. Even our oldest eighth graders get a lunch recess. They are all Amish children and barely an overweight one in the bunch.

  2. So far we are very lucky, it seems. I am so disappointed to hear of the trend that seems to be taking over our schools. I shared the link on my fb because I don’t think people outside of schools knows what is happening until it is there for their own children. More people need to know and voice their concern. At my school we have 2 gym at 30 minutes, 2 recess for full day at 20 minutes and 30 minutes. We also have a playroom that is between our classrooms. We go in there 45 minutes in the am and 30 in the pm. We have rest time for 45 minutes, but our sleepers can sleep through afternoon playroom. I also have some toys in our room for times when students are done doing their work. We still meet all academic exit expectations. We use playroom/free time and rest time as small group work time as well.

  3. we have one 20 minute recess a day before lunch and 45 minutes of P.E once a week. we’ve never had 2 recesses.

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