Coalition says many Michigan children don't get recommended amount of recess time

Posted at 5:28 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 17:28:58-04

NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) — We all want our children healthy and happy. The CDC says, for their health, children should get sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

Locally, State of Play Southeast Michigan reports only 13 percent of children are getting that. Could more time at recess be part of the answer?

The Coalition for Michigan Schoolchildren’s Right to Play released a report it says shows recess is lacking in many Michigan Schools.

“When you are learning and thinking so hard, it is nice to get out and play with your friends,” said Elin Hoppenstedt, a fourth-grader at Novi Woods Elementary, who says recess helps her focus and learn in school.

“Helping students with intentional play helps them with intentional learning,” said David Ascher, Novi Woods Elementary Principal.

Principal David Ascher says at his school recess is the CDC recommended minimum of 20 minutes every day for students because he believes it helps them learn.

Not all children in other schools get this.

The Coalition for Michigan Schoolchildren’s Right to Play says it did a survey and found about 20% of students do not get the recommended 20 minutes of play. It says that is not something we should let slide.

“We want to make sure all children have recess every day it is a fundamental part of their school day,” said Angela Rogensues, the Former Executive Director of Playworks Michigan, which provides recess programming.

She says two reasons not all schools have recess are staffing and policy.

“There is no legislation that requires recess as a part of the school day,” explained Rogensues.

She says she is not advocating for legislation mandating recess but supports incentives for recess.

“It makes me sad that sometimes we might be over legislating academics and not reminding ourselves the crucial social-emotional skills learned through recess. They are just as important,” said Ascher.

Novi works with Playworks. Playworks coach Christa Williams is an extra supervising adult at recess, teaching children fun games, like magic frog tag.

“If you get tagged, you need to crouch down. To get unfrozen two people need to say abracadabra,” she tells children during recess.

She says recess is needed nowadays more than ever.

“A lot of kids in this day and age don’t know how to play. They spend a lot of time inside on their electronics. They need to learn how to be out here and how to communicate and get along with each other and play the games we played when we grew up,” said Williams.

Aside from learning, they are children. Elin says they just need pure and simple fun.

“It is just fun to get outside and play with your friends,” said Elin.