FACTS and FIGURES

Recess

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  • One of the most common forms of physical activity breaks during the school day is recess. Children accumulate up to 40 percent of their daily physical activity during recess. [1]

  • Interviews with elementary school children reveal that physical education classes do not provide children with the opportunity to organize their own games and choose peer groups. Recess provides one of the few opportunities for children to interact with their peers on their own terms as classroom instruction is often focused on individual learning and free play after-school is diminishing. [2]

  • When children are outside, they move more, sit less and play longer-behaviours associated with improved cholesterol levels, blood pressure, body composition, bone density, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness and aspects and mental, social and environmental health. [3]

  • School playgrounds give children the chance to build active, healthy bodies and to develop their decision-making, negotiating and motor skills. [4]

  • Recess is important to acknowledge because children need meaningful interactions and relationships in order to thrive. Relationships and connectedness are central to all major theories of children's physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. [5]

  • Through social interactions, play exchanges and shared activities children develop their language and behaviors and begin to internalize and regulate their thinking. [6]

  • Ontario Preschoolers spend twice as much time being active when play is outdoors (53% of time active outdoors vs. 23% of time active indoors). [7]

  • Students take 35% more steps when physical education class and recess are held outdoors. [8]

  • Grade 5 and 6 students who are often or always allowed to go out and explore unsupervised get 20% more heart-pumping activity than those who are always supervised. [9]

  • Kids with ready access to unsupervised outdoor play have better-developed motor skills, social behaviour, independence and conflict resolution skills. [10]

  • In Canada, over 80% of schools have one or more active school policies, including recess. However with the ever-increasing number of bans and rules outlawing hardballs, physical contact, including games such as tag, free play becomes very limited for children. [11]

  • There is a negative relationship between height at which children play and the occurrence of injuries-fracture frequency and severity are not related to height of playground equipment. [12]

  • Children spend more time engaged on playgrounds that incorporate loose parts, giving them greater physical and mental challenges. [13]

  • Extended recess leads to more child engagement and play happens at a more vigorous intensity. [14]

  • Recent studies suggest that increasing playground space influences children's activity levels and promotes an engaging, effective recess environment. More space makes it easier for children to stretch out, participate in games, use equipment and engage in more physically active play. [15]

For more resources and helpful links visit: http://www.recessprojectcanada.com/research.html

SOURCES

 

  1. Kohl Hw, Cook HD. “Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School” National Academies Press (Oct 2013).

  2. Jarret OS. “A research-based case for recess. Published Online by the US Play Coalition (2013).

  3. Tremblay MS, Gray C, Babcock S, Barnes J, Bradstreet CC, Carr D, Chabot G, Choquette L, Chorney D, Collyer C, Herrington S, Janson K, Janssen I, Larouche R, Pickett W, Power M, Sandseter EBH, Simon B and Brussoni M. “Position statement on active outdoor play.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Vol. 12 Issue 6 (2015):6475-6505)

  4. Hyndman B, Benson AC and Telford, A. “A guide for educators to move beyond conventional school playgrounds: The RE-AIM Evaluation of the Lunchtime Enjoyment Activity and Play (LEAP) Intervention.” Australian Journal of Teacher Education.. Vol 39 Issue 1 (2014): 15-21.)

  5. McNamara L, Colley P, Franklin, N. “School recess, social connectedness and health: a Canadian perspective.”Health Promotion International Vol. 32, Issue 2 (Apr 2017): 392–402.)

  6. McNamara L, Colley P, Franklin, N. “School recess, social connectedness and health: a Canadian perspective.”Health Promotion International Vol. 32, Issue 2 (Apr 2017): 392–402.)

  7. Vanderloo LM, Tucker P, Johnson AM and Holmes JD. “Physical activity among preschoolers during indoor and outdoor childcare play periods. Appl. Physical Nutr. Metab. Vol. 3 Issue 38 (2013): 803-806.)

  8. “ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth” (2015) Online:https://www.participaction.com/sites/default/files/downloads/Participaction-2015ReportCard-FullReport_5.pdf)

  9. Mitra R, Faulkner GEJ, Buliung RN, Stone MR. “Do parental perceptions of the neighbourhood environment influence children’s independent mobility? Evidence from Toronto, Canada.” Urban Studies Vol. 51 Issue 16 (2014): 3401-3419.)

  10. ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth” (2015) Online:https://www.participaction.com/sites/default/files/downloads/Participaction-2015ReportCard-FullReport_5.pdf)

  11. (Barnes, J. “The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth: are Canadian kids too tired to move?” (2016):1-76.)

  12. Brussoni, M., Gibbons, R., Gray, C., Ishikawa, T., Sandseter, E. B. H., Bienenstock, A, Tremblay, M. S. “What is the relationship between risky outdoor play and health in children? A systematic review.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Vol. 12 Issue 6 (2015): 6423-6454.)

  13. Hyndman B, Benson A, Teleford A. “Active Play exploring the influences on children’s school playground activities.” American Journal of Play. Vol. 8 Issue 3 (2016): 325-344.

  14. Hyndman B, Benson A, Teleford A. “Active Play exploring the influences on children’s school playground activities.” American Journal of Play. Vol. 8 Issue 3 (2016): 325-344.

  15. McNamara L, Colley P, Franklin, N. “School recess, social connectedness and health: a Canadian perspective.”Health Promotion International Vol.

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