Virginia’s New Law Means Schools Can Add More Recess Time!

Virginia is one of only eight states that require elementary schools to provide daily recess, according to the 2016 Shape of the Nation Report.

On July 1, 2018, a new law went into effect which means schools across Virginia can add more recess time for students, allocating up to 15% of yearly instructional time to recess.

Virginia's new law on recess

Check out this presentation created by More Recess for Virginians on Virginia’s new law. It gives a brief, easily understandable overview of what has changed – .Virginia Recess Bill Explanation

Check out this very cool interactive 10 Reasons for Recess from – CLICK HERE.

Why do Children Need Recess?

Recess gives children:

  • A break from instruction
  • A chance to freely move, run and play
  • Unstructured time where kids control their own activities
Buchanan Elementary Playground - recess time

Children need unstructured play time to experience and engage in open-ended activities. Why? Because open-ended, unstructured play lets a child make his or her own path to get to the end result. It gets them asking questions, stimulates their curiosity, and engages their imagination. During unstructured time, kids:

  • Decide what to play
  • Plan what to do next
  • Switch between tasks
  • Set their own goals

In school, one of the primary ways for children to engage in unstructured play is at recess on the playground. During this time, children learn things such as:

  • Negotiation
  • Cooperation and sharing
  • Problem-solving
  • Perseverance
  • Self-control

Buchanan Elementary Playground - recess timeNot only that, but it means that kids will be more successful in the classroom. Recess gives kids the opportunity to release energy. Physical activity wakes the brain up making children more open to learning. This means less fidgety kids, less disruptions, and more kids paying better attention.



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