by Eric Conte, 1-2 Teacher
There are very few moments in the day that are better to witness than when the door to the playground flies open and students get their first breaths of fresh air. Almost immediately, a majority of students break into a sprint across the playground, shouting and laughing along the way. The amount of happiness, joy, and excitement that is present in that moment is something to marvel at. It seems like all the research in the world says kids benefit tremendously from recess breaks, but I’m not sure research is needed to come to that conclusion, just watch kids take their first steps onto the playground and that’s all the proof one needs.
It’s this moment that reminds me how much kids just want to be free and creative. The playground is a place where kids can dive into whatever interests them. It provides them with space, friends, and an opportunity to be themselves. The playground is full of ever-changing activities and ideas. Some children spend their time being architects, designing and building structures in the sandbox. Others climb to the tippy top of the licorice tower to forecast the latest weather updates. On the turf field, in the midst of a football game, some routinely go against the statistics and go for it on 4th down. Regardless of what activities or games children spend their time doing, the playground is home to some of the best moments of each child’s day.
For me, I cherish the moments where kids are unapologetically kids, and I find that every time I am on the playground! All kids want to do is “play” and have fun. A 20-minute break from academics where they get to spend time problem solving, imagining, competing, and moving their bodies is an incredibly healthy part of each student’s day. When we return to the classroom kids are refreshed and ready to learn! It’s hard not to be excited about recess when your whole class is. With that being said, next time the door opens to the playground, it won’t just be the students sprinting from the door, I’ll be right there with them.