June 20, 2014
Dear Billy’s Mom,
Thank you for your letter and I appreciate your concerns that Billy should not participate in physical activity during recess because it is a waste of time.   I agree that academics are important however, there have been many schools that have eliminated recess to devote more time to reading, writing, and arithmetic in an effort to improve test scores. There is no evidence to show that longer school days and eliminating recess improves academic performance.   There has been a great deal of scientific literature published that shows that increased time spent in physical education class does not have a negative impact on academic achievement.  
Recess offers many physical, cognitive, and social benefits for children. These benefits have a positive effect on classroom behavior and achievement. As I am sure you can understand Billy becomes less attentive during academic lessons without a break for unstructured play. Recess increases his focus and productivity once he is back in the class room.   It’s an opportunity for him to develop his social skills that he is not able to develop in the structured classroom. This interaction stimulates his academic achievement through peer interaction.   It also stimulates his social and moral development that teaches him to express himself. Billy would learn key social skills including sharing with his peers, cooperating, communicating with his teacher and peers, problem solving, resolving conflict, and self- discipline. In addition, Billy’s participation in recess will stimulate cognitive function though physical activity. Physical activity feeds his brain.   Billy seems to be more on task when he’s participated in physical activity. As I am sure you know movement increases the capacity of blood vessels to his brain. This expedites the delivery of oxygen, water and glucose thereby optimizing the brain’s performance.   Recess is also going to give Billy the opportunity to be a healthier child. Physical...