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

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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.