Recess Returns To Chicago Schools!


Great news! Recess is returning to schools in Chicago!

Beginning in November, the city’s Department of Public Health will require children who attend preschool or day care centers in Chicago to spend less time in front of television or computer screens — 60 minutes or less — and more time — at least an hour a day — participating in physical activity. At snack or meal time, milk cannot have a fat content higher than 1 percent, unless a child has written consent from a doctor. Only 100 percent juice can be served.

Preschoolers Need Healthy Lifestyles

From The New York Times:

Tracy Moran, a researcher at the Erikson Institute, a graduate school focused on early childhood development and education, said the requirements were important for young children to develop healthy lifestyles to prevent conditions like high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

The lack of recess could “certainly stunt any progress made early on,” Ms. Moran said.

40% Of Schools Have Either Cut Back On Recess Or Eliminated It

We can only hope that this will also extend to older children, since nationwide, about 40% of schools have either cut back on recess or eliminated it altogether.

Shockingly, in Chicago public schools, most students do not have recess or daily physical education. The schools eliminated recess decades ago by shortening the lunch period to 20 minutes and having teachers take their lunch at the end of the day.

Mayor Emanuel Offering Schools Financial Incentives To Lengthen School Day

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to do something about that: he is offering to give up to $150,000 in discretionary money and a roughly 2 percent raise for teachers to any school that lengthens its day by 90 minutes. The extended time could include a 45-minute block for recess and lunch. So far, teachers at nine schools have voted to accept that offer.

Union officials are furious at what they see as an intrusion into their domain, but Emanuel responds that this was a pledge he made while campaigning, so he is merely keeping his promise.

Let The Children Play!

If getting kids outside to exercise is the result, then I’m all for it. As I wrote here, when children don’t get outside to exercise, they suffer physically, socially, cognitively and spiritually.

Congratulations to Chicago for restoring recess!

Related Stories

All School, No Play: Student Learning Suffers With The Demise Of Recess

5 Reasons Children Need Time To Play At School

Photo Credit: iStock

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Natasha Salgado
Natasha Salgado2 years ago

Why was it gone in the 1st place??? crazy.

Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

federico bortoletto

Bella notizia. Meno male

Teresa Cowley
Teresa Cowley3 years ago

All schools should MAKE time for recess--it would do the children (and the teachers as well) a world of good.

june t.
june t.4 years ago

everyone needs a break during the day, why would children be any different? What the heck were they thinking in the first place when they took away recess? It's part of the childhood experience!

Dianne Robertson
Dianne Robertson4 years ago


Shirley Marsh
Shirley Marsh4 years ago

Everything in balance; a time to play and exercise the imagination as well as the body; a time for sports to teach team spirit and fair play. Too many planned activities for today's kids; what with this, and endless hours in front of computers or TVs, imagination is at risk of becoming extinct!

I can't believe it was curtailed in the first place either!

Julianna D.
Juliana D.4 years ago


Carol B.
Carol Burk4 years ago

Only the preschools and day care centers get recess? By law? And the preschools and daycare children cannot sit in front of the computer or tv screen for more than one hour a day? What do the teachers DO?

Amanda M.
Amanda M.4 years ago

Definitely a step back in the right direction!