The concern: “..when is recess coming back in the elementary schools? That is an ax all of us parents have been grinding for a long time. Parents were very angry about recess being taken away almost ten years ago. Many parents left the district over that alone. It’s time to reinstate afternoon and morning recess. There is lunch recess only.”

The response: ..I do have several observations ..made from school visits and data reviewed on academic growth. First off I would definitely agree that exercise/play time for children of this age range is very important for so many reasons. I don’t think anyone denies that point.

I will say however that given the major importance of a sound elementary education foundation for future success is not debatable either. The needs and expectations on our young children are very high in this day and age of learning.

The instructional teacher-student time is a very critical component to the success of a child achieving learning in this curriculum.

Many of our students come to school at different starting points including ahead of the game as well as behind. By electing to give more instructional teacher-student time our students at all levels are being better served.

And given that the school year is so limited (about 170 days this year) this I’m sure came at a cost of some play time. But please note teachers and administrators are very aware of our little ones attention spans and needs for “wiggling”.

So I have definitely observed very encouraging and clever classroom strategies to allow students to move, stretch, jump, wiggle, and simply change venues in a classroom so as not to be simply glued to a seat.

.. Many of our elementary schools offer after school programs that incorporate physical activity.

There is without a doubt a strategic commitment to making all students strong readers sooner than later since the lack of literacy skills is the single largest risk factor for students…”


Doug Lidiak

Board of Education President

Weld County School District 6




4 Responses to What’s Your Viewpoint on Recess?

  1. Rosemarie Jensen says:

    “wiggle room”? Are you kidding? Do you have or have ever had a child? It is NOT, I repeat NOT, developmentally appropriate for 4-9 years to sit for lengthy periods of time. they are CHILDREN. They are not adults. They do not learn quietly or by sitting still. I amsure without a doubt you are no educator so I would encourage you to read some Piaget or Vygotsky….it might help you get a fix on this. And quite frankly, why are we pushing the curriculum down so that kindergartens are looking like 2 nd grades of the 20 years prior to NCLB? Why do we need 5th graders learning algebra? THEY ARE NOT READY. They need play time, pretend play, etc. and n o, they can’t wait until after shcool. They actually can learn more and learn better with frequent periods of play and movement. Maybe we need to revamp all the bs that NCLB and RTTT have wrought which are not child friendly at all. At what point do the ADULTS in the room start protecting the children in the classroom?

  2. Roseanne Eckert says:

    This response makes me wonder whether Mr. Lidiak has any education in child development or whether he has ever met an actual child. All of the research establishes that children need exercise during the school day for their physical AND cognitive development. Not only is his failure to provide recess harming children as they develop, he is actually thwarting his own stated goal. No child will perform well on tests without regular outlets for activity. The afterschool programs do not even begin to address the needs of the children.

  3. Melissa Jones says:

    If recess was mandated,they would find the time. So why not do what everyone knows is the right thing without having to be told? If recess was on the test, there would be time for it. We all know physical activity improves brain function. University Charter here in town(Greeley, CO) gives kids 3-4 days of PE a week in addition to 2-3 recesses a day. That school is focusing not only on academic achievement as pertains to the almighty Test, but doing what is ethical for children. I seriously doubt that adding in a 15 minute daily recess is going to prevent kids from learning to read. In fact, it will probably help.

  4. Elementary schools have become so overstructured that children are not allowed to walk beside each other, talk or even laugh as they transition between classes in my district. It is prison-like. Cooperative learning, which engages students and encourages them to work together for a common goal, is being eclipsed by intense drilling of facts in order to prepare for end-of-year tests. Students are allowed so little time to interact socially with NO teacher interrupting that the 15 minutes of recess is the only time left when they can practice the valuable social skills needed to survive in the real world. We are creating a future working force of mindless zombies, able to spit fact back out but with no critical thinking or social skills.

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