Cutting Recess Doesn’t Work!

I’m an advocate for recess! Working as a school administrator, I have found myself making the mistake of taking away recess from scholars due to poor behavior. I quickly learned that doing this doesn’t support the restorative culture that we want for our schools. Taking away recess doesn’t help restore scholars to succeed.

Here’s why recess helps: 

  1. Health and wellness
  2. Socialization
  3. Team building
  4. Conflict Resolution
  5. Anger management

I often see scholars walking into school eating hot Cheetos, candy and all types of foods high in sugar. All this creates excess energy that sometimes just simply can’t be channeled into other areas. We structure recess at critical times of the day so that this energy can be exhausted. Properly exhausting excess energy creates a healthy balance.

Recess allows for scholars to interact with each other and build positive socialization skills. It supports them with team building and reinforcing conflict resolution. These are strong restorative justice practices that help with anger management skills. A lot of the scholars, especially in the middle school, deal with how to balance their emotions and impulses. I’ve learned that if we help our scholars during this time to handle conflicts, find balance and most importantly handle their emotions. However, cutting recess doesn’t make behaviors get better, it only leaves children with a sense of being punished and scrutinized for being bad. We can change the narrative with teaching how to handle difficult situations.


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