Why Should Students Have Recess


Why Should Students Have Recess?

Recess is a crucial part of a student’s school day that provides them with numerous benefits. It is a break from academic studies, allowing children to engage in unstructured play and socialize with their peers. While some schools have reduced or eliminated recess time in recent years to focus on academic achievement, research suggests that recess is essential for the overall well-being and development of students. This article will explore the reasons why students should have recess and address frequently asked questions about this topic.

Benefits of Recess:

1. Physical Health: Regular physical activity is essential for a child’s physical well-being. Recess provides an opportunity for students to engage in active play, which helps them develop motor skills, coordination, and cardiovascular endurance. Regular exercise during recess can also reduce the risk of obesity and chronic diseases later in life.

2. Cognitive Development: Recess helps improve cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, and concentration. Taking a break from classroom activities allows students to recharge their minds, enabling them to return to their studies with increased focus and productivity. Research has shown that students who have regular recess periods perform better academically compared to those who do not.

3. Social and Emotional Development: Recess provides a unique opportunity for students to interact with their peers in an unstructured environment. These unstructured play sessions allow children to practice social skills, such as sharing, cooperation, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Engaging in play fosters the development of empathy, emotional regulation, and self-control, all of which are vital for healthy social relationships.

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4. Creativity and Imagination: Recess encourages imaginative play, where students can create their own games, stories, and scenarios. This type of play stimulates creativity, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. It allows children to explore their interests and develop their unique talents.

5. Stress Reduction: School can be a stressful environment for students due to academic pressures and social challenges. Recess serves as a much-needed break, allowing children to release built-up energy and reduce stress levels. Engaging in physical activity during recess increases the production of endorphins, which promote feelings of happiness and well-being.


1. How long should recess last?

The duration of recess varies depending on the school and grade level. However, experts recommend a minimum of 20-30 minutes of daily recess for elementary school students. Middle and high school students also benefit from a break, and a shorter recess period of 10-15 minutes is typically sufficient.

2. Does recess affect academic performance?

Contrary to the belief that time spent on recess takes away from academic learning, research suggests that recess positively impacts academic performance. Breaks from classroom activities allow children to recharge their minds, making them more attentive and focused during academic tasks.

3. What can schools do to ensure a safe recess environment?

Schools should provide a safe and supervised recess environment. This includes adequately trained staff members who can monitor students and ensure their safety. Schools can also create designated play areas and implement age-appropriate rules to minimize the risk of accidents.

4. Are there any drawbacks to recess?

While the benefits of recess are numerous, there can be some drawbacks if it is poorly supervised or if the time allocated is insufficient. Inadequate supervision can lead to bullying, accidents, or exclusion. Additionally, if recess time is significantly reduced or eliminated, it can negatively impact students’ physical health, social skills, and overall well-being.

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In conclusion, recess plays a vital role in a student’s educational journey. It provides numerous benefits, including physical health, cognitive development, social and emotional growth, creativity, and stress reduction. Schools should recognize the importance of recess and ensure that students have adequate time and a safe environment to engage in unstructured play. By prioritizing recess, schools can support the holistic development of their students, fostering their academic success and overall well-being.