Building a Culture of Health Through Safe and Healthy Elementary School Recess

Feb 01, 2017
  • Description

A safe and healthy recess promotes a Culture of Health in schools by providing students time to develop socially, emotionally, physically, and academically. During recess, students learn and practice important social and emotional skills, such as conflict resolution, decision-making, compromise, and self-regulation. They also have opportunities for physical activity, and to engage with peers and adults who they might not see in their classrooms. These benefits make recess an important addition to classroom activities, not a "break" from learning that can be shortened or eliminated in favor of more instructional time. School leaders who are responsible for recess policies generally understand both the value of recess and the importance of making recess safe and healthy for all students, but many also report they need more recess staff, more equipment, and better training for their recess monitoring staff to realize these goals (Gallup, 2010).

Playworks' TeamUp program offers schools a site coordinator who supports and trains school recess staff, and models how to sustainably implement a safe and healthy recess. This brief describes elementary schools' experiences implementing a safe and healthy recess with the TeamUp program.