One middle school believes strongly that taking a break from sitting at a desk all day is beneficial, no matter what age you are. Recess at middle school isn’t the norm around the country, but more schools might want to follow this Massachusetts school’s lead and let the kids play.

Middle schools in the Medway Public School district in Medway, Massachusetts are comprised of fifth through eighth graders, which traditionally meant that the ten-year-old fifth graders didn’t have a recess—until now. This school year Medway middle schools added 20 minutes of daily recess for fifth graders, 15 minutes for sixth graders and 10 minutes for seventh and eight graders.

photo: jp26jp via Pixabay

The decision to give middle school students recess began with parents raising concerns over elementary schools not providing enough recess time. After many community conversations and months of research, along with the decision to lengthen elementary school recess, the idea came to add middle school recess to the upper-level grades.

“The teachers made this an incredibly collaborative process,” Dr. Armand Pires, superintendent of Medway Public Schools, told TODAY. “They were in full support of getting our middle school students to engage in recess.” The hope is that a break in the middle of the day will lead to better focus in the second half of the day, but most importantly, Pires says, are the emotional and social benefits.

“Recess provides us an opportunity to do something in the middle of the school day to give our kids a break, so they can feel less stress and pressure and not like they have to conform to some standardized expectations,” he said.

—Shahrzad Warkentin



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