‘I have a first grader who hasn’t been outside since October’: Mom questions lack of recess

Originally published Feb. 4, 2019 in the Bristol Herald Courier.

By Valerie Honeycutt Spears

The mother of two Fayette County, Ky., students is questioning how much physical activity her children get at school.

Janine Schmedding-Bartley, who has two children at Millcreek Elementary School, said her “first-grader hasn’t been outside since October.

At a public hearing, she said her fifth-grade daughter and her first-grade son get far less physical activity than was offered at schools in Michigan. The family moved from there to Lexington this academic year. Read More


EDITORIAL: Kids need more recess

Originally published June 7, 2018 in the Fredericksburg Freelance-Star.

GOV. Ralph Northam recently signed a bill passed by the General Assembly that requires the state Department of Education to accept “unstructured recreational time that is intended to develop teamwork, social skills and overall physical fitness”—in other words, recess—when it calculates the required instructional time for elementary school students. The new law goes into effect on July 1.

Local school boards can now set aside up to 15 percent of total instructional time for recess, which comes out to a maximum of about 50 minutes per day. However, they must still provide a minimum of 680 hours of teaching time per academic year in English, mathematics, science, history and social science for K-5 students, and a minimum of 375 hours of instructional time for students in half-day kindergarten.

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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

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