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Does More Recess Time Equal Better Academic Performance?


Over the past 10 years, American schools have been slowly decreasing the amount of recess time for students. The reduction in playtime is part of an effort to make more time for students to prepare for standardized tests.

But now, as StateImpact Oklahoma reports, school officials in Chattanooga, Oklahoma, are trying something different. Elementary students in the tiny southwestern Oklahoma town are now getting a total of an hour of recess time a day. The Chattanooga school is actually part of a larger study designed by a researcher at Texas Christian University.

The study is based on the way schools work in Finland, where students are given tons of free time and consistently rank among the best in the world academically.

Chattanooga fifth grade teacher Jackie Gable was skeptical, at first, of cutting down on classroom time. But now she’s a believer.

“We get so much more done here, because they have those breaks,” she says.