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Not All Fun And Games: New Guidelines Urge Schools To Rethink Recess

What’s the best time for students to have recess? Before lunch, or after? What happens if it rains? If students are misbehaving, is it a good idea to punish them by making them sit out recess?

Those are just a few of the issues addressed in new guidelines designed to help schools have good recess. The recommendations come from a group called SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) America and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recess might seem simple — just open the doors and let the kids run free. But only eight states have policies that require it, according to last year’s Shape of the Nation report. And when researchers started looking, they found very little consistency or guidance about what makes recess effective.