The crucial role of recess in school

Pediatrics. 2013 Jan;131(1):183-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2993. Epub 2012 Dec 31.


Recess is at the heart of a vigorous debate over the role of schools in promoting the optimal development of the whole child. A growing trend toward reallocating time in school to accentuate the more academic subjects has put this important facet of a child's school day at risk. Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education--not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child's development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Schools*
  • Students* / psychology