Submit Content

Peter’s Take: APS Should Further Increase Elementary Recess Time

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

As recently reported in the Washington Post, under a new state law, local school districts in Virginia (including APS) have been granted added flexibility to increase recess time at the elementary level.

Local school boards now may devote up to 15 percent of state-mandated instructional time to recess under a law that took effect July 1.

What the new law provides

The new law allows up to 15 percent of the required 5.5 hours of daily instructional time to be used for recess (roughly 50 minutes). The new law also reduces the minimum instructional hours that must be spent teaching only English, math, science and social studies/history from roughly four hours and eight minutes per day to roughly three hours and 47 minutes per day.

These are newly-authorized changes to state-mandated minimums. But, before these changes can be implemented, each local school district (including APS) must take affirmative steps to incorporate the changes into its own policies. Each local school district (including APS) must decide how much of the newly-authorized time that district wishes to shift to recess.

Benefits of more elementary recess

A large body of educational research has documented the benefits of more recess time. Among the chief benefits are these:

  • Brain Development–Physically active children are better at paying attention, have faster cognitive processing, and perform better on standardized tests. Breaks allow children time to encode classroom learning into memory.
  • Social & Emotional Skills–The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that children learn negotiation, cooperation, and problem-solving skills at recess.
  • Executive Functions–During unstructured playtime at recess, children learn to plan their own activities, switch between tasks, and set their own goals. These skills increase success in school and even in adulthood.

Increases in elementary recess time already approved in other NOVA districts

Other Northern Virginia school districts already have announced plans to take advantage of the new Virginia state law, as the Washington Post reported:

Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties have opted to mandate at least 30 minutes of recess, which the law defines as “unstructured recreational time that is intended to develop teamwork, social skills, and overall physical fitness.” In Loudoun, kindergarten students must get at least 40 minutes. In some schools, the increased time will double students’ daily unstructured play.

APS response

On August 15, APS sent its first formal communication about the new law to elementary school parents. APS stated:

  • Many APS schools already provide at least 30 minutes of recess
  • APS policies will be updated to reflect the 30 minute per day recess minimum for elementary students

Conclusion

Our schools are all overcrowded. Almost all elementary schools have lost field space to trailers. APS parents are dealing with this reality.

APS can’t fix the overcrowding or the lack of open space overnight, but APS has appropriately recognized that it should take advantage of the new law now.

Yesterday’s APS announcement is a welcome step. However, as more and more academic pressure has been applied at younger and younger ages, APS should do still more given the critical importance of recess to young children’s development.

APS’ current recess policies (at pp. 5-6) do not contain any minimum daily recess requirement.

APS should revise these policies to mandate a daily minimum of:

  • 35 minutes of recess in grades 1-5 at every elementary school
  • 45 minutes of recess at every kindergarten

Recent Stories

High school football season is in play, but this year, fewer students in Arlington Public Schools will be in the stands cheering on their friends. That is because Arlington County…

With a full service shop, Car Care To Go does everything from oil changes to brake replacements with free valet.

In a bid to generate more visitors, Arlington Arts Center has renamed itself the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington. The non-profit arts organization at 3550 Wilson Blvd in the Virginia…

Wireless services provider Federated Wireless is moving its headquarters from Ballston to Crystal City and is bringing private 5G to the area with help from developer JBG Smith.

Now you can have fun with your family and friends when deciding where to eat!

Just hop aboard The Lunch Train and set the destination for: breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or nightlife!

Features:
– No app necessary. Simply go to the website if you’d like!
– No account necessary
– Use your current location or a desired location
– Add restaurants you’re interested in, invite your friends, and play the game!

https://www.thelunchtrain.com/

Submit your own Community Post here.

Lyon Park & Ashton Heights’ biennial home & garden biennial tour is back. The tour will include contemporary custom homes, older historic bungalows as well as renovated properties. One of the stunning homes on the tour is pictured above.  In addition to beautiful & unique homes, the Villa & Vistas ’22 event will conclude with a festive reception at the Lyon Park Community Center at 414 N Fillmore Street, Arlington VA 22201. What could be better right?

All proceeds from this event will go to the Lyon Park Citizens Association (LPCA) towards our neighborhood jewel & hub, the Lyon Park Community Center (LPCC).

When: Sunday, October 2nd, Noon – 4 PM. 

Where: Meet to get your tickets and the tour map at the Lyon Park Community Center (414 N Fillmore Street) We will have a table with information outside.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved

Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved. Join ACFCU for our Homebuying

Pink Carpet Event Charity Fashion Show

The Pink Carpet Event Charity Fashion Show will feature our fabulous breast cancer survivors slaying the runway! Designers from Baltimore and the Washington, DC Metropolitan area will bring exquisite fashion and glamour to this event. Professional male and female designs

×

Subscribe to our mailing list