By Valeria Munoz
Palm Beach Post Intern
Kids are learning to connect with technology these days, but they are disconnecting from each other. Thus, Florida’s new law mandating 20 minutes of recess for students K-5 is long overdue.
Although the sweeping education law, based on House Bill 7069, has been criticized by many educators including Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa as it cuts public schools’ construction money in order to share with charter schools, one of its few silver linings is required recess.
Communication, understanding, and coexistence cannot be taught from an app. When I was in elementary school, negotiating who got to have the good jump rope or basketball, having monkey bar races, and playing endless rounds of tag, left us exhausted but content. We learned the importance of patience as we anticipated recess anxiously. And we worked together to remind the teacher if the lesson went into playground time.
With more public schools incorporating different levels of learning (gifted, advanced, and regular) the difficulty in course load is growing. While the boost in learning is appreciated, some of the pressure needs to be alleviated from students’ shoulders. Allowing children to put down their pencils and workbooks for a set amount of time will help them return to their studies more refreshed, relaxed, and alert.
Of course, with freedom comes responsibility; teachers will have to keep an attentive eye for any bullying lest anyone try to be the “king/queen of the swings.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids should spend at least 60 minutes exercising each day. Not only does it provide them with physical benefits, but recess allows students to interact with their peers and make their own decisions in regard to friendships, a skill they will definitely need by the time they get to high school.
When we reached fifth grade, some kids decided to think they were “too cool” for recess and would sit on the side. But once they hit middle school, it was a different story. And in high school? Those same students were asking for the return of recess.
In short, enjoy recess while you still have it, because one day you may find yourself in an Advanced Placement (AP) block classroom wishing the break lasted longer than five minutes.
Valeria Munoz, a recent graduate of Boca Raton High School, is starting college as a journalism major. She is now an intern at the Palm Beach Post