Parents push for more recess for younger Grayslake District 46 students
Some Grayslake Elementary District 46 parents cite health benefits in asking school officials to provide daily recess for younger children.
D46 Parents for Regular Recess representatives say they want a policy allotting 30 consecutive minutes of outdoor playtime daily for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. They contend children need more than the current pair of 15-minute recess periods per week.
They plan to present an online petition supporting more recess time to District 46 board members at a meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Grayslake Middle School.
Superintendent Ellen Correll said Friday she has yet to meet with the parents but is willing to listen to their concerns. She said young students have gym class three days a week and recess on the other two.
But group member Loralie Thomas said more time for physical activity should be available, especially at a time of concern over childhood obesity. The mother of two children who attend Prairieview School in Hainesville said it's a matter of "healthy body, healthy mind."
D46 Parents for Regular Recess member Jaime Johnson, who has two children at Woodview School in Grayslake, acknowledged there are factors behind the reduction of playtime for young students. For example, schools can opt for more academic time over recess.
"We want to reopen the discussion and work together to eliminate the obstacles that are preventing our children from getting the recess they need," Johnson said.
Group members point to American Academy of Pediatrics research showing children benefit from daily recess at school.
In a policy statement titled "The Crucial Role of Recess in Schools" published in the January 2013 issue of Pediatrics magazine, the organization stated it offers children cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits if done safely and properly supervised. The pediatrics organization said unstructured play or activities are as needed daily break from classes.
At neighboring Woodland Elementary District 50 in Gurnee, children in grades one through five receive a daily 25-minute recess, spokeswoman Carolyn Waller said. She said full-day kindergartners have 30 minutes of regular recess and 15 additional minutes of structured play daily.
D46 Parents have been receiving feedback on the issue on a Facebook page that was created this month. There were about 150 group members as of Friday, Thomas said.