A school in Texas has found a unique way to treat children suffering from ADHD – by allowing kids two extra 15-minutes of recess.
Kindergarten and first-grade students were found to pay more attention in class and fidget less when they were allowed to spend more time dong what kids like to do – engage in physical activity and play.
It’s such a simple notion in such unusual times that it actually sounds revolutionary, and several schools in Texas are being hailed for trying a new program which solves behavioral problems by doing nothing more than allowing children to play outside more often during the school day.
Simple ideas like this have been proven to work well in places like Finland, where students’ test scores improved along with increased play time, a case which serves as the inspiration for a program in Texas schools which have quadrupled the amount of outdoor recreational time, seeing amazing results in terms of overall increase in focus and decreases in distraction and behavioral interruptions.
“According to Today, the Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, has been giving kindergarten and first-grade students two 15-minute recess breaks every morning and two 15-minute breaks every afternoon to go play outside. At first teachers were worried about losing the classroom time and being able to cover all the material they needed with what was left, but now that the experiment has been going on for about five months, teachers say the kids are actually learning more because they’re better able to focus in class and pay attention without fidgeting.” [Source]
The key to the success of the program is ‘unstructured play’ four times a day to break up the physical and mental monotony of the classroom, allowing developing minds and bodies to constructively use their energies, so that their may be more effectively applied in learning.
While administrators in schools trying the program initially thought it would negatively affect testing results, the results have proven that the opposite is in fact true, which is in line with how the American Academy of Pediatrics sees playtime.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, calling recess “a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development.” Studies show it offers important cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits, yet many schools are cutting down on breaks to squeeze in more lessons, which may be counterproductive, it warns.” [Source]
Medicating restless children for them to better fit in to a dumbed down education system is a grave mistake, criminal even. Programs like these desperately need to be implemented nation wide.
“You start putting 15 minutes of what I call ‘reboot’ into these kids every so often and… it gives the platform for them to be able to function at their best level.” ~ Dr. Debbie Rhea, creator and director of the Liink Program
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