Mandatory recess in Florida’s public elementary schools?
A group of central Florida mothers have written a bill that asks lawmakers to consider making recess mandatory in the state’s public elementary schools. The bill would require no less than 20 uninterrupted minutes of recess each school day for public elementary students. Teachers would not be able to withhold recess time as punishment for students if the bill passes. Currently, each school in the district can independently determine how much time to allotted to recess on a daily basis.
Often times recess is the highlight of a student’s day at school. It is a time to mentally and physically recharge from a grueling day filled with primarily sedentary activities. It is often apparent when children do not receive proper recess time and aren’t able to exert energy that tends to build throughout the school day. Palm Beach County Superintendent Robert Avossa says, “We joke and call it the wiggles, we gotta get the wiggles out, they gotta move their bodies.”
Parents and administrators alike believe in the value of recess, the issue seems to be whether or not there are enough hours in the day to make it a daily requirement. So much is packed into the school day already and much of the curriculum and activities are already mandatory. Some believe the only way to incorporate daily recess is to extend the school day.
Florida’s mandatory recess for public elementary schools bill will be reviewed in the state House and Senate and will work through the legislative process next year.