From the playground up

Home may be the place where good habits begin. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a little more recess at school could also make a big difference.

The AAP issued this new recommendation just a couple of weeks ago. Their statement appeared in the journal Pediatrics. And it marks one more victory in the ongoing battle to get this country’s kids off their butts and back outside.

This new policy would be more in line with Japan’s, where students are offered 10 minutes of free play for every 50 minutes of class. (Incidentally, Japan has one of the lowest obesity rates in the world.)

But aside from the physical benefits, the AAP’s statement also emphasizes the social and developmental importance of “going outside to play.”

Recess helps teach kids about cooperation and sharing, they say. It also gives them a chance to process what they’ve learned. This leads to better attention and mental performance throughout the day.

Finally, someone in charge is talking some sense. If only it happened more often.

Seaman, Andrew M. “Pediatricians say kids need recess during school.” 31 Dec 2012. Accessed at