Jarrett and her team found that recess helped children keep their bodies still and minds on-task while in the classroom. "On the days the students had recess before class, the children were more focused and less fidgety," explains Jarrett. "Following a recess break, the children were more likely to be doing what they were supposed to be doing—whether it was reading or writing, looking at the teacher, or listening to another child recite."
Unfortunately recess is being eliminated or cut-back in many schools:
"Recess started to decline in the late 1980s, when so many educational mandates started coming down," explains Jarrett, who is president of the advocacy organization, the American Association for the Child's Right to Play (IPAUSA).
"It got worse with No Child Left Behind. With the pressure on testing, schools found little time left for anything like art, music, or even science that wasn't being tested. And recess was considered a waste of time."