For years, parents and environmental organizations have argued that recess helps kids do better in school.  Still, surveys show that up to 40 percent of America's schools have cut recess in favor of desk time.  But a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) challenges this policy and affirms that recess is just as important as academic classes in influencing a child's ability to learn.

In the new report, entitled, "The Crucial Role of Recess In School," the AAP claims that taking a break from academics helps kids in many physical, social and cognitive ways and should be considered an essential part of a child's school day.  

The report states: "A growing trend toward reallocating time in school to accentuate the more academic subjects has put this important facet of a child’s school day at risk...Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education -- not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld..."

Here's more...

"Just as physical education and physical fitness have well-recognized benefits for personal and academic performance, recess offers its own, unique benefits. Recess represents an essential, planned respite from rigorous cognitive tasks. It affords a time to rest, play, imagine, think, move, and socialize," the report states.

"After recess, for children or after a corresponding break time for adolescents, students are more attentive and better able to perform cognitively...In addition, recess helps young children to develop social skills that are otherwise not acquired in the more structured classroom environment."

The AAP is officially advocating that all schools create - or recreate - a recess policy allowing everyone (not just the kids) to enjoy a scheduled break in the school day.  

Does your child's school still have recess? What do you think of the AAP's position?

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.