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Morning recess for Kindergartners/first graders in Melrose

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We, the undersigned parents or guardians of children in Melrose, believe that morning recess for kindergartners and first graders has a positive impact on learning, as well as benefitting children's social, emotional, and physical health. Given the many documented benefits of recess, we ask that the administration reinstate a daily morning recess for kindergarten and first grade students. The research is unequivocal that physical activity and free play contribute to children's cognitive, physical and social-emotional development, positively impact executive functioning, and boost academic achievement. • Recess makes children more attentive and productive in the classroom. Studies say that simply switching from one task to another is not enough—the brain actually needs a break in order to recharge. • Research on memory and attention shows that recall is improved when learning is spaced out rather than concentrated. Even adults rarely sit and concentrate for more than three hours without a break. • Studies have shown a significant and positive correlation between physical activity and academic performance. Children tend to be very active during recess—even more so than in P.E. This benefits both their academic capabilities and their physical health. • Recess leads to improved behavior and fewer disciplinary problems in the classroom. Recess is particularly crucial for children with ADHD. • On the playground, children exercise leadership, work in groups, practice negotiation skills, take turns, and learn to resolve conflicts. These social and executive function skills are thought to be critical—even more important than I.Q.—to later success in both school and career. • There is no data to support the assumption that reducing recess in favor of additional classroom instruction leads to better test scores or improved academic outcomes. • Many national organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have affirmed the importance of recess and urged schools not to reduce this vital part of the school day. Given the foregoing, we strongly believe that the decision to eliminate morning recess for our youngest learners is counterproductive—not only to children’s social, emotional, and physical health but also to their cognitive development, academic achievement, and lifelong love of learning. We ask you to reconsider this decision and to reinstate morning recess for kindergarten and first grade students in the Melrose Public Schools.


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