Recess: A Teacher’s Guide

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Recess. Something our kiddos need, and we need! In a world of constant achieving and hustling, rest and play is something that can be challenging to make a priority. 

Sarah Besand, a teacher and Possip Reporter, examines the importance and benefits of recess. 

Teachers, we have ideas for you in this blog regarding what you can do for your own self-care and rest, but today we are diving deep into the importance of recess for students.


Recess might be viewed as a privilege that can be earned or taken away when considering student consequences. However, we should examine the benefits of recess when making this decision.

Play is Learning Too

For students in all grades levels, play is a critical component to a balanced day of learning. Not only does recess provide students with an appropriate break in between learning sessions, it also allows students to learn other skills that can only be fostered with peers. According to this article from the Penn Foundation, “recess offers opportunities for children to learn and enhance communication skills, negotiation, cooperation, sharing, problem solving, perseverance, self-control, and conflict resolution.” Without recess, students do not have as many opportunities to practice these skills with their peers in a low-stakes environment. Having adults readily-available for any potential hiccups in communication is a huge gift as students master these interpersonal skills.

Recess Balances Out Behavior

Student behavior can be massively impacted by adequate recess time. In today’s world, students spend more and more time at their desks, and movement plays a big role in on-task behavior. When students have movement built into their day, they thrive. (And adults do too!) This can exist in the form of brain breaks throughout instruction, and definitely during recess time. When students are given that permission to play, move, and communicate with others, disruptions within the classroom ultimately decrease.