Inspired living

Importance of high-quality recess for children

Happy kids embracing and smiling in the elementary schoolyard


Recess periods during school are a very important time for kids. As kids are wired to play, the break provides the opportunity for them to be physically active, as well as develop social and emotional skills. They also learn about teamwork, sharing, conflict resolution and goal setting.

Previous research has shown that when kids are active they learn better. But it depends on the quality of the recess period, according to new research from Oregon State University. Previous research has concentrated on the role of physical activity during recess, but few studies have examined the quality of the recess experience for child development.

It is called the "The Great Recess Framework”, which is a 17-item observational tool. It can be used to observe and rate the recess experience.

In this study, the researchers developed and tested a new observational tool that will allow schools to study the outdoor break environment so that they can better measure and define a quality respite experience for children. It is called the “The Great Recess Framework”, which is a 17-item observational tool. It can be used to observe and rate the experience.

To test the assessment tool, the researchers collected data from 649 individual, school-based, outdoor break periods (from 495 schools) in 2016. They observed the sessions for three days for the most consistent results.

The researchers found that quality recess experiences were those where transitions to and from went smoothly; children had plenty of choices of play equipment and games; they were able to resolve conflicts among themselves; there was little violence or bullying; and adult supervisors were engaged with the students, jumping into games or encouraging interaction.

The availability of play equipment and the opportunity for physical activity during these break periods are vital, but for the recess experience to be effective for child development, many factors need to be available such as peer conflict resolution and the availability of adults to supervise and engage in play.

Source: BMC Public Health


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!