24 Arkansas schools to expand recess

Boost from 15 to 45-60 minutes will allow unstructured play

Originally published May 28 in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

By Cynthia Howell

Twenty-four elementary schools in districts as large as Pulaski County Special, Conway and Fort Smith and as small as Fouke in Miller County will participate in an extended-recess pilot program for the 2018-19 school year.

For children in the Pulaski County Special School District’s Daisy Bates and Pine Forest elementaries, participation in the pilot program means free play time will go from the current 15 minutes after lunch to 60 minutes a day for kindergarten through fourth grades and 45 minutes for fifth-graders. Read More

physical activity

Fighting the ‘Summer Slide’ with physical activity

Originally published May 9, 2018 by News Channel 8

By Evan Donovan

The “Summer Slide” isn’t just about kids losing some of what they learn in the classroom, it can happen to the body almost as easily as the mind.

“Whether it’s [physical education] class, recess, the day to day structure of extracurricular activity when they’re in school,” said Jarrod Williams, Youth Sports Advisor for YMCA USA, “it all falls by the wayside in the summer months. That ‘physical’ aspect of the summer slide is backed up by research.”

Physical activity has been linked to better brain function and can help keep the mind sharp, particularly as people age. Read More

Exercise is more precious than ever. So let’s stop scaring kids off PE

Originally published Feb. 22, 2018 in The Guardian.

By Anna Kessel

When I was growing up I routinely bunked PE lessons. I saw PE as optional – it was on the timetable, but no one seemed to care if you didn’t attend. PE was for sporty kids anyway, and I wasn’t one of them.

Times have changed. We now know so much more about the value of physical activity – for physical and mental wellbeing, to promote positive body image in women and girls, to help people with depression, to engender a healthy lifestyle from an early age, to sharpen concentration and academic performance, and even to tackle the gender pay gap (research shows that women who play sport are more likely to enjoy high-flying careers). Read More

Recess is vital for children’s development

Originally published March 29, 2018 in the Sandusky Register.

By Rachel Velishek

I am a full-time working mom. Every day, I strive to find the balance between meeting my children’s emotioA counselor explains the value recess at school plays in the overall development of young children.nal, mental, and cognitive development AND maintaining a home and work.

Parenting for this generation is different than in the past; we receive so many opinions, research from every demographic regarding every issue — cloth diapers or disposable; co-sleeping or not; homeschool or public schooling. Read More


Madisonville CISD school board given petition to increase recess

Originally published March 5, 2018 by KBTX-TV3.

By Whitney Miller

A Madisonville CISD mother says she’s concerned about the lack of recess her children are getting at Madisonville Intermediate.

Monday night, Brooke Willis presented a petition with nearly 300 signatures to the school board, in hopes they will add daily recess to the district’s master schedule.

Read More