In a recent Good Morning America segment featuring Vulnerable Populations Portfolio grantee, Playworks, U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, asserts that cutting recess actually does academic harm to our students. In fact, studies show that given even a mere 15 minutes a day of recess helps kids excel in the classroom.
Good Morning America featured Playworks for its work to change the current face of recess in America by bringing play into every child’s life, and for helping schools make the most out of recess, which can sometimes be chaotic for teachers and students.
Playworks works with low-income schools in 12 cities across the United States, putting adult leaders on the playground, often called “coaches,” to set-up and organize recess ‘stations’-usually one big game like kickball and several smaller games like foursquare. All kids are encouraged to play-though play is never forced on anyone. Teachers and principals at Playworks schools many times report a reduction in playground bullying and misbehavior and an increase in exercise and social skill development.
Another important discussion followed the Good Morning America piece on the show ABC News Now-Moms Get Real. This discussion, led by news anchor (and mom) Juju Chang, and entitled "The Death of Recess", discussed some of the startling implications of cutting recess like the decreased academic performance cited by Secretary Duncan. This thought-provoking piece featured a panel discussion with Playworks Newark Executive Director Adeola Whitney and other play experts.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation congratulates Playworks for being recognized as a leader in a very important conversation-recess.