Bring back recess


Emmeline Roney

World traveler Emmeline Roney ’19 gives her monthly insight into both the joys and frustrations of life at East Grand Rapids High School.

Emmeline Roney, Staff Writer

How long has it been since you watched the sun rise before school? This lack of sun is taking its toll, causing many of us to fall into seasonal depression. Without the necessary dose of Vitamin D, moodiness and sluggishness take hold over many of our lives, causing us to lose the energy that is required to perform well in school. With the stress of school heaped upon us, alongside sleep deprivation and an absence of time, our world view has grown bleak. For these reasons, it might be time to reinstate something we haven’t had since our youth – recess.

Alongside the cold weather often comes a hopelessness for students –  it becomes easy to trap ourselves inside a cycle of home and school. Sometimes during these winter months, especially after the joys of holiday break are over, we wrap ourselves up in the routine of our everyday lives and tend to disregard the state of our mental health — students and teachers alike.

Some semblance of this childhood reprieve, specifically during the winter months, would serve immense benefit to the classroom atmosphere. I am not suggesting that teachers shirk their responsibilities as educators and provide the time for students to play on the monkey bars, but I do believe there are many ways to administer time for recuperation in an academic manner. Half of students energy is wasted trying to sit still. I believe that much of the lifelessness residing in schools today spews from a dislocation from one’s life outside of the entity of school; many students stop caring about the piles of accumulating homework because their brains have utterly shut down due from unmanaged stress. Students, as well as their teachers, tend to struggle come mid winter; time dedicated to re-center oneself could do a world of good.

As the product of a rigid educational system, we have been taught that physical movement and the acquisition of knowledge do not come hand in hand. Many teachers assume that if our body is engaged, our minds are wandering and if our minds are active, our bodies must be then be plastered before a desk. This however, is neither the way to teach or to learn, nor is it the most effective way to conduct a class. Breaks to stretch or move around a bit, incorporating music or skits, or changing the learning environment are easy ways to add “recess” into a high school class.  

Engaging one’s entire body during class can help students learn far more effectively than the traditional model will allow; productivity and social awareness correlate directly with physical activity.