Monday, January 19, 2009

eliminate recess?

There is a national trend to reduce or cut recess for children to make more instruction time available for passing standardized tests. This is in direct opposition to what is widely known about child development. Children in schools need unstructured time to reflect, to test on their own, and to work out relations and rules with their peers. Plus, recess is nearly every child's favorite time in school.

At Clear Spring School we have been doing classroom visitations, providing each teacher time to visit the classrooms of our peers and to commendations and recommendations on how we meet the mission of hands-on, hearts-engaged learning. This is a mission that is easiest to meet at the lower grades where lessons tend to be more concrete, involving craft materials and hands-on manipulation of objects. It becomes more challenging at the upper levels of education where learning becomes more abstract.

Schools are never a set point in time, but a process of evolution toward goals that better serve the learning needs of children in flux. Too often, teachers work in isolation in their own classrooms and our visitation have been useful in moving toward better implementation of a shared vision.

If you plan a visit to Clear Spring School (and visitors are welcome), plan to be on campus at 10 AM. Recess. It is when you will see all the Clear Spring School students engaged in cooperative play. And it is a time when you will see how important recess can be in the lives of children.

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