free play

Right to Recess

Right to Recess

This article is part of our Member Blog Series, which showcases Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative Members' efforts and commitment to ensure that play is a critical element in the lives of people of all ages. Each month, a different member organization will share their take on how play is a part of the work they do. The Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative hopes that these stories of play from our diverse set of member organizations will encourage and inspire leaders in communities, businesses, schools, and families to prioritize play every day.

"At recess, I remember everything I learned."

Advancing developmentally appropriate practices for children birth through age eight is one of PAEYC’s public policy priorities. This is done, first and foremost, through providing children with opportunities to play in and out of the classroom. Recess gives children a necessary break and time for free play during the rigorous school day. Experts recommend young children receive at least one period of recess for 20 minutes a day, in addition to physical education and classroom physical activity. 

Children need play breaks

Child-centered school environments include recess in the schedule. Prioritizing time for free play during the day enables children to engage with their peers and participate in unstructured, child-led activities. Recess, along with other physical activity breaks throughout the day, increase the likelihood that children will be successful in school. 

Research on attention suggests the brain can’t maintain attention for long periods of time and requires contrast to regain focus. Children need down time to give their brains a break from concentrated classroom work and allow for information to be processed.