Governor John Bel Edwards signed legislation to mandate 15 minutes of recess for public school students kindergarten through fifth grade. State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley says recess is beneficial for a child’s social and emotional health.
“We know that the students have been through a lot over the last few years. We talk about the importance of well-being for students. We talk about the impacts of trauma on students. I think one of the most simple things we can do is just let the kids play.”
The bill authored by Houma Representative Beryl Amedee defines a play environment outside of regular classroom activities. The bill would allow recess not to be counted toward the minimum of 360 instructional minutes required each school day. Brumley believes fear of extending the school day cut recess in schools.
“One would think recess would have been something that was already standard in the state of Louisiana but it wasn’t. I know of schools where kids did not have access to recess.”
A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that recess improved students’ ability to focus and made instruction more efficient. Brumley says any amount of time away from the classroom will improve a child’s overall well-being.
“Certainly recess isn’t going to solve everything but give kids just a little time during the day to go out, get some sun, and play with their peers.”
The new law goes into effect beginning the 2023-2024 school year.