Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Common Sense

My favorite item brought back from the Wyoming trip by hubby is a big, quite big, bag of coffee beans from Venezuela, a gift from a guy also on the work site. Very nice. I'll be breaking into that baby tomorrow.

The theme of common sense continues to haunt me. Yesterday I was reading the Wall Street Journal, as I do each day except Sunday, as it is not published that day, and I notice an article on the whole recess/structured play debate concerning school age children. Now, maybe I just missed something but really, did we need major studies and findings to know that children need recess in school?

The American Academy of Pediatrics now says recess "can foster creativity and social skills, arguing that when play is undirected, kids become resourceful in figuring out conflict resolution, negotiation and even leadership - which might not surface as naturally in an adult-structured atmosphere", according to the article. Here's my reaction:


The elimination of recess time and of phys ed class in school is not a good thing. Anyone blessed to raise a child can tell you that the little darlings need free time. Children need to move and hang with classmates outside of the classroom walls.

I am the mother of a boy. My son, who entered school settings at the age of three years in order to keep him stimulated, is not a slug child. He was never one to sit quietly and not move in class. He tests as gifted and is way too interested in his surroundings and others to just not ask questions or interact with others. He was one of the young ones who gave his teacher gray hair as he would need reminding to be quiet in class or be still. A lot of teachers will make a parent feel guilty for this natural state of a child. I learned to speak up and tell anyone complaining that I much preferred an active, intellectually curious child than a slug child who would be "good" and glassy eyed. Children need to have breaks and recess to let the excess energy out, for Heavens sakes.

This is common sense.

Due to new testing requirements and standards imposed on today's teachers, I know the first instinct is to keep the children in the classroom longer. I still see this as an unproductive solution. Maybe extend the school day a half hour or something and leave breaks and recess in place. Bored, distracted brains will not retain what is being taught.


delta said...

I wonder how many studies will be required before they also realise they should bring back real music and art classes? This makes me sick. They find money for sports teams, but not for cultural lessons. Thank goodness for Montessori school, although expensive, well worth it.
As for recess, most schools no longer have playground equipment either.

Jennifer said...

Ever thought about running for the school board? You'd be a phenom, I've no doubt.

I remember reading about a restaurant that kept their big, quite big, bags of Columbian coffee beans in the freezer for freshness. Don't know if it really works or not, but sounds plausible, I guess.

colleenR said...

Hi Karen, I once made up a bumper sticker that I never got printed that said: Recess instead of Ritlan! I say DUH.

Anonymous said...

When I was volunteering in my daughter's elementary school there was a push to redo the decades old playground equipment. There turned out to be so much red tape, plan submissions, rules re: materials, depth of mulch, inspections, that the team trying to *do* the work burned out. By the time it was planned and approved it was also very expensive. For a little country school, one room per grade, it was a bit much. Actually, there was less equipment after the redo - no monkey bars, no tall swings and the wooden fort was demolished in fear of splinters.

When I was that age we were turned loose in what we called *the thicket* which was a just couple of rock outcroppings and about 20 trees. Mostly we just ran full tilt until the bell rang. We had two recesses per day, 3 days a week formal gym and 2 days art appreciation.

Now there were no formal girls sports teams then until high school basketball and basically only girls with brothers made the team since they were the only ones who knew how to play.

Boys were busy then and were expected to channel that energy -- now they call them good workers or leaders or entrepreneurs. My husband is case in point. He used to sleep in his clothes so he could get to school really early to play basketball and then delivered papers and mowed yards after school.

srp said...

Everything has to be in balance; studies, recess, arts, music.

When I see these strange esoteric courses in high schools I wonder if we've missed the boat... teaching so many diverse things we forget about the basics.... no one teaches penmanship anymore. And writing, so many get to college without ever having to write a term paper, never mind any creative writing. Speech and English - how often do you hear someone who cannot express themselves in more than one syllable words with every other word being "like".

The world of video games and TV has taken the place of recess and severely limits imaginative play.

I limited the amount of TV Nyssa watched and while she had a hand held video game for long trips, we never had a PlayStation.

Beverly said...

I'm always amazed at the money that is spend on studies that merit the response, "duh."