Recess Time - How Much? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 08-17-2004, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son started fourth grade today. I am freaking out about the amount of recess time he is not getting.

Our public school is in session from 8:00a.m. to 3:05p.m. and fourth graders get a five minute break in the morning and afternoon and one 20 minute recess after lunch.

My first grader gets more recess time. I can't remember how much her teacher told me last night. I was on overload by that time. I believe she gets two fifteen and a 20 or 30 minute recess.

I'd really like to know how much break time other children are getting. If you don't mind, I'd like to know grade/age, public or private school and whereabouts you live.

I'd also love to hear from teachers.

I'd also like to know if I'm being a big stinky whiney baby about this. Thank you.
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#2 of 14 Old 08-17-2004, 09:05 PM
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I have no idea what public schools are giving for recess these days, but both sound like very short periods of time, merely from this mama's knee-jerk perspective.

Dd, at a private Montessori, gets 30 - 45 minutes of recess in the morning and - when she goes in the afternoon - in the afternoon.
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#3 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 02:21 AM
 
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When my ds was in kindergarten last year (waldorf), they played an hour outside everyday no matter what the weather was. They were at school for 4 hours, so 1/4 of that time was outside. That was one of my favorite things about the kindergarten class.

Don't know about the public schools in the area, though.

Kids need movement...kids need movement...kids need fresh air...kids need fresh air... (and that is my first soapbox moment here at MDC...do I get a prize?)
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#4 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 02:31 AM
 
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I actually teach at a public school in VA, and last year I taught 4th grade. (this year I'll be teaching 5th) We had *at least* 30 minutes of recess every day in the afternoon. The kids also got a break of 45 minutes every day in the way of resource classes (art, music, p.e., ect) This is the norm for the upper grades where I'm at.
Did you ask the teacher about it? It could be that they are getting less recess time because of the No Child Left Behind Act, which is really pushing many districts to decrease student time outside of a structured classroom environment in an effort to increase state mandated test scores. (this really sucks, btw)
I don't think you're being a big stinky whiney baby either, just for the record. Kids need to have a break too and a chance to run off some energy. My school even started something last year, that we can not take recess away as punishment for bad behavior. We can let them not participate in games, but they must be moving during recess.
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#5 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 02:51 AM
 
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Our public school runs from 8:25 am to 2:50 pm, lunch is up to 45 minutes with the remainder as recess. I wish it was longer, but it looks like our day is shorter. Gym and other specials help, as they are less structured generally.
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#6 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 10:26 AM
 
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My dd is going into second grade. In her public school, from 1st to 6th they get a half an hour recess after lunch, and a short break in the morning. School runs from 8:05 to 3pm. They also have at least one or two special class a day, with gym 3x/week, music and art twice and library once.

DD is an extremely high energy kid, but she's fine with this. It is the same amount of recess I had at a private elementary school over 30 years ago, but we only had gym once a week and very rarely had art or music and didn't have a morning break.
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#7 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your replies so far.

It bothers me that if my son were working a seven-hour shift at a discount store or fast food restaurant, he'd be allowed more breaks and even REQUIRED to take more breaks than he does as a ten year-old fourth grader. I think this is messed up.

He does have P.E. first thing in the morning, but that presents another issue with breakfast and a late lunch and no morning snack. He does get individualized reading time right before lunch and the music and library time a couple times a week.

I'm frustrated and I don't know where to turn. There weren't a lot of parents at the open house and I didn't have a chance to chat with the ones who were there. Hopefully some of them will be there tomorrow night for the parents group. One or two moms making noise isn't enough to get the principal to listen. Maybe a few voices will. But with NCLB, does he even have a choice? Aren't his hands tied?
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#8 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 11:55 AM
 
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<<Maybe a few voices will. But with NCLB, does he even have a choice? Aren't his hands tied?>>
Maybe, there may even be a chance that he gave the grade levels guidelines on how to structure their day. I think principals are pretty stresssed over NCLB too, they would probably be the first ones to go if the school did not get accredidation. Which really sucks too. The main problem with the public school system is there are WAY to many politicians sticking their noses in it and trying to run a classroom like a business, and they haven't got a CLUE about what is best for the children. If it was left up to the teachers, test scores would probably be up, simply because they could teach in a way that children enjoy. (enough of my soapbox, though)

Did you ask his teacher anything about it? Did she act like she thought that 20 minutes was long enough? (even if it was ordered from higher up, I would have a hard time acting like I was ok with it when I told parents. KWIM?

You're son has started back, right? Has he said anything about the amount of time that they have to sit and do work, maybe she actually has them doing activities or something (trying to think positively, here). I would ask him about it and see what he thinks too.
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#9 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She didn't say anything, and I didn't ask about the recess time because there were fourth graders present. (I did ask about the snack and we are totally prepared to break that "rule" with a granola bar if we need to.)

He only had a half day yesterday. Today is the first full day. His teacher is very approachable, and has been teaching for years. I would suspect she's having to adjust a lot. She did express her concern over the late lunch hour, but I think she might be more candid when children aren't present.

I'm really glad I asked about this here before I went storming into the principal's office with my flame thrower. Whew! I still think it stinks, but now I'm more rational.
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#10 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 12:16 PM
 
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My daughter will be starting back into the third grade tomorrow... Their school day begins at 8:10 am and ends at 3pm. Every morning the entire school (K-4) starts off with a morning assembly called Rise N Shine. It lasts until 8:30am. They do exercises, songs, morning announcements, etc. It really gets the kids up and going!

Then, IIRC they have a 15 minute morning recess around 10am and then lunch is one hour long, with the option of recess after 20 minutes of eating... I like this because the kids are NOT rushed out of the lunchroom and can actually take their time to eat! But they do have to remain in the lunchroom for at least 20 minutes.

Since my daughter is in 3rd grade this year, her lunch is an hour later than the younger grades, starting at noon. That also means there will be no afternoon recess for her, while the younger grades who have lunch at 11am get a 15 minute afternoon recess.

PE, Art, and Music are also held twice a week, and last year for 2nd grade a LOT of their science studies were done on outdoor projects.

Our school also has a 1/4 mile nature/walking trail that the kids are encouraged to walk on during their recess time - they give them punch cards at the beginning of the year and give awards for certain numbers of miles completed throughout the quarters.

We got VERY lucky in our public school district and I just LOVE it!
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#11 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mommymushbrain - this is your public school? Incredible. I could live with that, for sure. I'd be thrilled!
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#12 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 02:31 PM
 
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Yes, it's just a regular old public school here in Arkansas... like I said, we got soooo lucky with this district! Any problems I have had have been immediately tended to, all the teachers are so accessible! For a public school, it is really great!
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#13 of 14 Old 08-18-2004, 05:57 PM
 
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4th graders at our local school get 25 minutes of lunch and 25 minutes of recess a day.
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#14 of 14 Old 08-20-2004, 03:50 PM
 
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For my fourth grader, school starts at 8:40 am; at 10:30 they have a five minute snack break; at 11:15 they have a 20 minute recess; at 12:30 they have lunch and recess (if you eat fast you get a longer recess, if you eat slowly you get a short recess--works for my kiddos); at 2:15 they have their "specials class" which rotates between music, art and gym. They they dismiss at 3:45.

For my first grader, school starts the same time; at 10:15 they have a 15 minute recess and snack: at 12:00 they have a 30 minute combined lunch and recess; at 1:30 they have the "specials" rotation; at 2;10 they have a 15 minute recess. They dismiss at 3:45.

The day seems very broken up to me, with lots of transitions (physical and mental). I have spent alot of time in my youngest's classroom (my older dd doesn't want her mom hanging out with her all day, apparently ), and I have been very impressed with how little continuous sit down time the kids have. They still do alot of sitting; but it is broken up every 10-15 minutes. They do the morning introduction at their tables; then 10 minutes later they do the calendar/math in a group gathered together on the floor in the calendar corner of the room, etc. Specials, reading, and lunch (and obviously recess) take place in different parts of the building, so there is the physical as well as the mental transition and movement that goes along with that.

I'm actually pleasanly surprised at the amount of recess my kids get.

Lori
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