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School Kids Need More Play, Less Work

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

The saying goes “all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” The same may be said about some American school children.

A new study published shows that a growing trend of curbing free time at school may lead to unruly classrooms and rob children of needed exercise and an important chance to socialize.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York looked at more than 10,000 children aged eight and nine. The research around better classroom behavior among those who had at least a 15-minute break during the school day compared to those who did not. The behavior assessments were general in nature and were not made at any particular time of the school day. The study appears in the February 2009 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“The available research suggests that recess may play an important role in the learning, social development, and health of children in elementary school,” the research team said.

The study pointed out that many children today get less free time and fewer physical outlets at school “because many school districts responded to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 by reducing time committed to recess, the creative arts, and even physical education in an effort to focus on reading and mathematics,” they added.

The study also said the growing problem of childhood obesity needs to be addressed by more activity, especially at school where children spend so much of their day.

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