In an April 14 Education Week post, reporter Evie Blad noted that the practice of taking away recess time as a punishment is a common practice. But, it seems, that’s changing ... in some places ... finally. But not here. Yet.
"More and more, schools are doing away with withholding recess for disciplinary reasons, pointing to research findings that unstructured play and exercise benefit students both inside and outside the classroom," Blad wrote before quoting Sara Zimmerman, the technical-assistance director of the Oakland, Calif.-based Safe Routes to School National Partnership:
"Physical activity and unstructured play, those things are not luxuries for kids. That's a key part of how kids learn and how they grow."
Blad noted that about a dozen states have now banned schools from punishing children by taking away recess, and Minnesota lawmakers are currently eying a similar prohibition.
Teachers at some schools also withhold gym, music and art classes as punishment, adding that in many cases they don’t have much else to lord over misbehaving kids.
Parents and educators often band together to fight for funding for gym teachers and art teachers and music teachers. We stand up at board meetings and hold up signs saying these classes are key components of a quality education. But then we allow schools – and ourselves – refer to those subjects as "specials," and to deprive kids of them when they don’t do as they’re told or expected.
We don't say to kids, "no math facts for you today, mister," when they spend too much time staring out the window (though surely some kids would find that a painful punishment). And we don’t say, "OK, no spelling test for you this week" when little Billy talks during a lesson.
Which is it? Is music an important window into science? Is art key to self-expression? Is physical activity important for concentration? Is the power of play at recess developmentally important? Or are those things mere frosting on the math-reading-…Read more...