Posts Tagged ‘Recess’

Is Recess a Human Right?

January 16, 2020

When I was a school kid, I didn’t merely think “play” was a human right, I thought “playing up” was a human right.

As a teacher, I certainly value the benefits of allowing my students to experience pleasurable periods of healthy play. However, I am also of the belief that kids who waste class time risk losing some of their own downtime. Actions must have consequences, and consequences must involve the loss of something important to the child.

Child author, Michael Rosen, would probably be quite disappointed in me:


Play is a fundamental human right, Michael Rosen has said.

The children’s author and poet said that play should not be seen as an “add on”, or an “extra” as he urged adults and children to “get out there and play”.

Rosen’s comments come in a video by the British Psychological Society (BPS), which has said it is concerned that break times are being eroded.

In the video, called Right To Play, Rosen, a former Children’s Laureate who is best known for books such as We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, says: “Play isn’t an extra, it isn’t an add on.

“Play is a fundamental human right.”

Dan O’Hare from the BPS division educational and child psychology said: “Children’s break time has been reduced by 45 minutes a week in recent years, and one of the results is that eight out of 10 children now do less than one hour of physical activity per day.

“We are grateful to Michael Rosen and the children in the video for helping us make the case that play is vital for schoolchildren. Because play isn’t just a means to an end: it’s fundamental to children’s development and wellbeing.”


Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.


Schools that Get Rid of Recess Should be Struck from Funding

September 11, 2012

There are programs and activities that I would classify as expendable – recess is not one of them! How a school could justify putting a stop to recess is beyond me. Even in prison there is circle work and yard time. Why on earth would a school want to deprive its students from the social and physical outlet that recess presents? Kids are forced to sit at their desks for hours without socialising with their peers. They long for the chance to get out into the fresh air with their friends. What school would deprive them of that right?

There’s not a minute to waste in the school day for Syracuse elementary students. There’s not even a minute reserved for recess.

The city’s elementary schools have master schedules for the new year and they include zero time blocked out for recess. The schedule requires every minute of a student’s day, except a half-hour lunch, to be spent on instruction.

At least one city school and more than a few teachers took the schedule to mean there could be no more recess, although district Chief Academic Officer Laura Kelley said teachers can offer recess if they want.

It is not clear how teachers could squeeze in recess and still spend the required number of minutes on instruction.

“If they are going to opt to do recess, they are going to be taking time from ELA (English language arts) and math, and that’s a choice I hope every teacher considers very carefully,” Kelley said.

This is absolutely disgraceful! I wouldn’t consider this very carefully at all. If the wellbeing of your students is your first priority, then recess is FAR more important than an extra lesson of math or English.

In fact, I would take my students outside for the day in protest. I would integrate my curriculum for the day around recess. I would have math related recess activities, language based recess activities etc.

To ban recess is tantamount to banning teachers from going home to have dinners with their families, with the reasoning that this time could be used for planning lessons.

I hate some of the trends being flagged in educational circles. They put achievement before child welfare, process before outcomes, political correctness before common sense and regulations before freedoms.

One of my non-negotiable as a teacher is – my students have the right to enjoy their school day!



School Using Bomb As Bell

July 12, 2011

It’s ironic that administrators are banning football and cartwheels in some playgrounds whilst schools on the other side of the world are playing with bombs during recess.

A mine awareness team in Uganda were horrified to find an unexploded bomb being used as a bell when they visited a school to teach children how to spot bombs, a local newspaper reported.

The Anti-Mine Network organisation saw teachers banging the bomb with stones to call children to lessons in a 700-pupil school in a rural area, the Daily Monitor said.

“Its head was still active, which means that if it is hit by a stronger force, it would explode instantly and cause untold destruction in the area,” Wilson Bwambale, coordinator of the organisation, told the newspaper.

Mr Bwambale said they would explode it in a cordoned-off area.

The Ugandan military has fought two rebel insurgencies over the last two decades and mines and bombs still litter former battlefields around the country.

This is the second bomb that the Anti-Mine Network have found in a Ugandan school in the last six months.

Another was found being used by children at lunchtime as a toy and put away in a storeroom during lessons.

Thankfully no one was hurt.  Football in the playground doesn’t seem so bad now.  Not that it ever did ….

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