Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Recess & CPS: How Much Is Recess Worth?

So, Jordan—a mother with a second-grade son enrolled in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system—was blogging about the lack of recess. It pained me to read her words, because they are so familiar. After six years in CPS, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these same sentiments expressed by other parents. I’ve expressed them myself.

Usually, the talk begins with some parent mumblings on the school grounds. Then, concerns about the physical and mental health of small children get brought up at a local school council (LSC) or PTA meeting. But nothing ever happens.

Except that good people leave the system. One of my favorite school moms transferred her son from our recess-less school to a private school with recess. She stuck it out for two years, though, before she made the switch. I saw her, after the move, and asked her how the new school was working out.

“It’s fine,” she said. “But I’m basically spending 8K a year for recess.”


Jordan said...

My husband and I had this very conversation last night - is it worth switching to private school for RECESS? Initially, I'd say no.

However, the sticking point for me here is not so much about recess in particular but the fact that districts seem to have lost sight that these are *children* we're talking about...not just test scores. The lack of attention to them as whole people - small though they are - is inexcusable.

So to me, the lack of a real break in their "work day" is just a small symptom of this larger problem. Would the larger problem be worth $8K a year? Yes, I think it would, but I still don't have it to spend in the first place, so I guess I just need to chip away at the problems.

Jordan said...

And by the way, I have to ask since you are also on Blogger: how on earth did you manage to add the Chicago Moms Blog to your personal blog and make it work?? I have not been able to figure out how to attach the HTML to it, even though I have the code!!

Kathy said...

I agree with you, Jordan, about districts seeming to have lost sight, but I would go even farther. I think our country has lost sight of our children. Teachers, schools, and even whole districts have their hands tied. Of course, I'll be writing more about that. . . .

Tech note: Blogger lets you add different elements to your page, one of which is HTML/Java script. Select that, and pop in the code.

Melinda Bossenmeyer, Ed.D. said...

You might be interested in our blog that talks frequently about the topic and importance of recess. Links to a few recent blogs on the topic are below.

What's Cool in School: Peaceful Playgrounds http://blog.peacefulplaygrounds.com/2007/09/peaceful-playgrounds-whats-cool-at.html

Eliminate Recess? Let's Skip It!

Are you ready for national recess week? http://blog.peacefulplaygrounds.com/2007/09/are-you-ready-for-national-recess-week.html

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