The best way to improve children's performance in the classroom may be to take them out of it.
New research suggests that play and down time may be as important to a child's academic experience as reading, science and math, and that regular recess, fitness or nature time can influence behavior, concentration and even grades, reports the New York Times.
A recent study found kids who had more than 15 minutes of recess a day showed better behavior in class than those who had little or none.
The lead researcher, Dr. Romina M. Barros, a pediatrician and an assistant clinical professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said the findings were important because many schools did not view recess as essential to education. In fact, they found disadvantaged children were more likely to be denied recess.
"Sometimes you need data published for people at the educational level to start believing it has an impact," she said. "We should understand that kids need that break because the brain needs that break."
Also, teachers often punish children by taking away recess privileges. That strikes Dr. Barros as illogical. "Recess should be part of the curriculum," she said. "You don't punish a kid by having them miss math class, so kids shouldn't be punished by not getting recess."
Do you think kids learn during recess?