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The Importance of Recess in Schools

St. Timothy's students having fun on the playground during recess

When asking your child about their school day, you may find that their face lights up when talking about recess. Whether they made a new friend on the playground or performed well in a game of kickball, children use recess to be social, partake in physical activity, and decompress outside the classroom. 

At St. Timothy’s School, we incorporate recess into our students’ daily schedules to provide them with an outlet for physical activity and social connection. Our team holds two recesses for lower school and one for middle school to allow students to get outside and take a break during their busy school day. To learn more about the vital role recess plays in a child’s personal and academic development, read below for three reasons why recess is important in schools.

Drives Social-Emotional Growth

Recess plays a critical role in a child’s social-emotional development. By engaging with peers in an unstructured climate, students socialize and develop formative communication skills like negotiation, cooperation, sharing, and problem-solving. At St. Timothy’s School, we prioritize social-emotional learning in the classroom through our comprehensive social and emotional learning program. By incorporating social-emotional lessons into our regular curriculum, we help our students integrate thinking, feeling, and behaving into critical developmental tasks. However, we also hope our students reinforce these learnings at recess. During recess, students can broaden their views and ways of thinking by playing team games, using their imagination, and applying social-emotional skills outside the classroom.

Offers Physical Benefits

In addition to physical education classes, recess gives students another opportunity to be active and improve their overall physical health. Whether engaging in a game of tag, running a lap on the track, playing in the gaga ball pit, or just going on a stroll around the playground, children use recess to practice movement and motor skills. By counterbalancing their class time with physical play, students develop healthy habits that make up a lifelong active lifestyle. The physical activity children participate in during recess can also reduce stress levels and allow children to decompress outside of the classroom.

Improves Cognitive Skills

Along with physical benefits, recess also improves children’s cognitive skills. When attending class followed by unstructured playtime, children undergo less distractions and optimize their cognitive processing. In contrast, going from one cognitive task to another without breaks could result in fatigue and cause students to become easily distracted. Whether recess is indoors or outdoors, any form of unstructured break will make students more attentive and productive in the classroom after having time to socialize, and be active.

Private Education at St. Timothy’s School

As a top private school in Raleigh, NC, St. Timothy’s School offers students valuable academic, intellectual, and spiritual foundations to guide them through life. By providing students with an even balance of academics and play, we create a nurturing environment for students to learn, grow, and serve alongside each other. Visit our website today to learn about St. Timothy’s School.