Wednesday, September 06, 2006

20 minutes

On the news today, there is talk about 20 minutes of physical activity in the classroom every day. Doesn't that seem odd? Will that make children healthier and help them learn better?
Again, we seem to be heading into reliance on the "leadership" of a teacher here, who must necessarily be trained and have some expertice in modeling physical activity as well as assessing the needs of the various kinds of children in the classroom.

My impression is that if you give kids space, a few simple toys like a skipping rope or a ball, kids will invent endless physical games on their own. Doesn't this sound like what recess used to be? I went to a small private school in Canada for many years -- back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth ;) -- and in lieu of "supervising", teachers often participated in the games on the playground or in the gym. It was play, a break, for everyone! And we had fun seeing the teachers playing.

Addressing physical exercise as another "subject" that must be slotted into an already overscheduled day seems unworkable. Taking a game, and then systematically "learning more about it" sounds immediately to me like: ugh! work!!

If you have any doubts as to how beneficial some of the retro- "simple" games of yester-year are, just try skipping with your granddaughter. My daughter and I did that with my granddaughter recently. My daughter works out regularly at a gym in the city. I do my yoga and walk. But both of us found skipping for just a short time left us quite breathless. Imagine that! Play as exercise. But don't bother telling the experts -- they won't believe you -- they have studied long and hard to find systematic and refined ways of implementing exercise and good old recess ain't it anymore!

2 Comments:

Blogger Jenn said...

Do they even have recess anymore? I don't think they let the kids out on the playground at lunch, the school day is too full.

So it sounds to me like they took it away, and now they are reintroducing it indoors as more structured time.

Sigh.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Kati said...

Jenn, many schools don't have a playground. Many playgrounds had their playground equipment removed for "safety reasons", they were leaching toxins because they had been made with preserved wood or there was a concern that a child could fall...Many playgrounds are so crowded with portable classrooms that all that's left is paving. One school I am aware was recently remodeled extensively, enlarged because it serves a large population (so far so good), but the playground was largely eaten up by a HUGE parking area and turnaround for buses. Then there are new rules on the playground to prevent injuries, no running, no balls...each school is different.

11:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home