Rethinking Recess: Creating Safe and Inclusive Playtime for All Children in School

Rethinking Recess: Creating Safe and Inclusive Playtime for All Children in School

by Rebecca A. London


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In Rethinking Recess, sociologist Rebecca A. London argues that recess has been overlooked as an essential part of the elementary school experience, with major implications for how well schools serve all students equitably and responsively. Given its potential to support students’ social and emotional learning and physical activity, London says, recess should be designed intentionally, with attention to safety, health, and engagement.

The book shows how school leaders and other educators—even those with budget and space constraints—can make the most of recess time by using a variety of proven strategies, and also provides examples of schools that have put these strategies to use. Rethinking Recess highlights the need for equitable access to recess and supplies alternatives to the common practice of withholding recess for misbehavior or as a punishment, along with other policy recommendations, assessment tools, and resources that practitioners can use to redesign recess.

When unstructured or poorly planned, recess can be a major source of disciplinary incidents and office referrals, eating into instructional time, adding stress, and affecting perceptions of school climate for students and staff, among other negative outcomes. Conversely, taking organizational steps to create a well‐designed recess can engage students, improve school climate, build valuable social and emotional skills, reduce behavioral incidents, and promote healthy lifestyles.

Meticulously researched and filled with practical and often easy‐to‐implement changes for recess policies and practice, this book provides a critical resource for school leaders and others looking to make every aspect of school a positive one for students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682534144
Publisher: Harvard Education Press
Publication date: 10/08/2019
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Rebecca A. London is a faculty member in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Case for Recess 1

Part I Understanding Recess Today

1 Current Inequities in Recess 15

2 A Snapshot of Recess Across the Country 35

Part II Improving Recess for All Children

3 Organizing and Customizing Recess 61

4 Building a Culture of Play at Recess 81

5 Social and Emotional Learning Thrives at Recess 105

Part III Supporting Recess Through Policy and Practice

6 Local Policies and Practices to Support Recess 133

7 Improving State and Federal Recess Policies 153

8 The Right to Play 171

Appendix 1 Resources for Rethinking Recess 185

Appendix 2 Great Recess Framework-Observational Tool (GRF-OT) 187

Notes 193

Acknowledgments 205

About the Author 207

Index 209

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