House Bill #10 Would Make Recess Mandatory In Delaware Public Schools For Students In K-8

Sometimes a State Representative surprises me.  Today, Delaware State Representative Melanie Smith filed House Bill #10, which would change recess requirements in the State of Delaware for public schools.  Bring the play back to schools!

This Act entitles all students from kindergarten through the 8th grade who are enrolled in a Delaware public school to morning and afternoon recess periods and a lunch period that is at least 30 minutes in length. Morning and afternoon break periods must be at least 10 minutes in length each. Under this Act, students are entitled to morning and afternoon breaks and a lunch period only on a full day of school.                    

Can I get an Amen?  Before everyone starts with the “this should be a local decision”, I feel some bills should make every school district be uniform with certain things in education.  This is one of them.  Let’s get real.  This bill would not come about if our districts and charters were doing this already.  Many of them are, but not all of them.  And not enough.  Children need to play, especially during school.  I wish those recess requirements were longer, but it is a start.  We need to be emulating countries like Finland where recess is just as important as Language Arts or Math.  They also have shorter school days there and are considered to be one of the best countries in the world for education.

The Chair of the House Education Committee announced today there will be one more House Education Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 27th and this bill will be heard in that committee.  I am very happy to see some sanity coming back to public education.  I will take the small steps while they come.  Thank you for this bill Rep. Smith!  I would like it if you could attend the House Education Committee meetings though!

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8 thoughts on “House Bill #10 Would Make Recess Mandatory In Delaware Public Schools For Students In K-8

  1. Thank you for sharing. 30 years in education and concerned about how things are looking for the next generation of teachers (and students.)

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  2. I don’t think this goes far enough. By the time a class gets outside will it really be 10-15 mins? We are taking the regular 30-minute block and splitting it. It’s still the same issue. I can do break-breaks for 10 minutes but they aren’t free-play.

    What about a morning and afternoon of AT LEAST 30 minutes? Now THAT would be something.

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    1. I totally agree, Steve. I also believe it doesn’t go far enough, and what’s more I’m disappointed that so many folks are saying there’s no time in the day or curriculum for this. It’s a truly important thing for kids to have, and free play doesn’t need to look like chaos. There are ways to do it. And frankly, if we increased play – along with arts and other expressive courses – we probably wouldn’t need so dang much doubling up on math and ELA. There’s your time right there. It’s what is best for the kids, based on – wait for it – science, and that means it should be done even if it temporarily discomfits the adults who have to change to accommodate it. I will happily give up time regularly to supervise middle school kids playing outside. Or just sitting around and talking. Or whatever it might look like. They need it.

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      1. I’d love to see an amendment to augment that time. We simply need to do something different. This is a reason public schools get criticized; those in charge aren’t willing to try something that research says is a huge benefit to kids.

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  3. There is more a child can do outside that just strengthen social skills and develop motor. Why not have outdoor play time that includes science activities? Learning about the community? We can set up environments outdoors that are playful, remain child-directed, AND support a number of learning domains. Can you imagine if there was a teacher(a) whose job it was to support the outdoor learning environment for students??

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    1. I do just that in my building. I’ve got 2 fully enclosed 8,000 sq ft courtyards, one with small domestic livestock and the other for gardening. I’ve also got a handbook with suggested activities for other content areas, fully aligned with their standards. Including CCSS. It requires a shifting of values and priorities to make this happen.

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