A recent study by researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) in the United States, recommends that schools should provide children with a daily recess experience that goes beyond a momentary halt in their educational activities. According to the researchers, children need to have access to diverse playground activities that are not limited to outdoor playtime, but that involve a greater engagement with adults, safety, peer conflict resolution, and quality play equipment.
Over the years, various studies have demonstrated that outdoor recess leads to a significant social and emotional development in children. Moreover, these researchers developed an observational tool called ‘The Great Recess Framework’, which comprehensively evaluates recess time for students. The assessment goes from ‘access to safety and structural equipment, the availability of organized games, how engaged the adults were with children as they played, student behaviour, student-adult ratio’ and more. The researchers applied this framework to the recess experiences of students in 495 urban-based schools in 2016.
The researchers found that US children benefit more from recess when adults are more engaged in their activities, when there is access to a wider range of organized games and structural equipment, or when they are able to solve peer conflicts between themselves. ‘Do the kids have things to play with? Are they resolving their own conflicts? Are adult supervisors engaged? Our data suggests that engaged adults are critical to the flow of a high-quality recess,’ said the lead author William Massey, assistant professor at OSU's College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
For more information, consult the study in the BMC Public Health journal.