Both recess and physical education in schools promote activity and a healthy lifestyle and should be a daily break for young children and adolescents, according to a 2013 policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The statement, “The Crucial Role of Recess in Schools,” was published in January 2013.
Safe and properly supervised recess offers children cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits. It should be used as a complement to physical education classes, not a substitute, and whether it’s spent indoors or outdoors, recess should provide free, unstructured play or activity.
The AAP recommends that recess should never be withheld as a punishment, as it serves as a fundamental component of development and social interaction that students may not receive in a more complex school environment.
Study authors concluded that minimizing or eliminating recess can negatively affect academic achievement, as growing evidence links recess to improved physical health, social skills and cognitive development.