It’s hard to grasp the equation “more play=more learning.” We want children to enjoy their childhood by playing but we also wish to educate them. Especially during the early stages of education, kindergarten and the first grade are crucial points in a child’s life. But how does a child learn further by increasing play time? Well, the Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, has the answer and it has left parents in astonishment.
The solution is as simple as it gets: give the kids four different periods for recess. Two 15 minute breaks in the morning and two 15 minute breaks in the afternoon.
The child in you must be jumping for joy right now but at the same time, your inner parent is probably wondering “won’t the kids get too tired to learn anything.” Apparently, they don’t. In fact, the kids are doing better in class ever since the extra recess.
This was a big move for the teachers and thankfully, it yielded big results. However, many were at first afraid of losing precious teaching time. They too were worried about how they would make up for everything they missed the chance to teach.
First grade teacher at the school, Donna McBride, says that she had a hard time grasping the concept, according to Today. Initially, she was nervous about how it would backfire but now, her fears have been quelled. According to Donna, the kids are not only paying better attention in class, they follow directions easier, and they’ve taken a knack on solving problems independently. Not to mention, there have also been fewer behavioral issues.
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Teachers aren’t the only people seeing this radical change. Parents of the children have noticed the positive transformation too. They said that their children have become more creative and social. Amy Longspaugh is the mother of Maribel, a 6-year-old girl in the class of Donna McBride and one of the many changed students. Amy says that her daughter has become more independent as well as being able to write more skillfully and vividly.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stressed the importance of recess during the early phases of the child’s development, according to Scary Mommy. They say that adults have the same difficulty as children when they’re stuck in a chair the whole day working. According to them, taking a break every now and then is good for the mind and body. This piece of advice is not just for grownups but for kids as well.
A call for change has been started by Professor Debbie Rhea who works with Eagle Mountain Elementary and other schools. Rhea wishes for others to emulate Eagle Mountain Elementary and give their students more play time. According to her, this adjustment could help countless children learn at top performance.
Sacrificing learning time for play time may sound a little disagreeable to many. But who’s to say that a radical change isn’t what is needed? I mean, just look at the children at Eagle Mountain Elementary. They’re the perfect examples of positive change and they’re reaping the benefits of both learning and playing.