Prague Elementary School students are starting the day off right: with playtime. A new program implemented this school year added an early recess, which improves behavior and learning.
Initially, the school had a single recess period scheduled at the same time as noon detention. However, school administrators and TSET Healthy Living Program staff in Lincoln County discovered that withholding recess from students was in violation of TSET’s wellness policy, which requires at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
“Through our TSET grant and the workshops available to teachers and administrators, they get it,” said Sheri Ripley, TSET HLP Wellness Coordinator and former Prague Elementary teacher. “They’re starting to think about how we can improve physical activity and how we can make sure we’re adhering to the policy.”
Starting this fall semester, the school will have a morning recess in addition to noon recess. Before, the students sat in the hall waiting for classes to begin. Now they have 30 minutes of playtime.
“By 8:15, they’ve been running around and going, then they’re ready to sit down for a while and concentrate,” said Chad Smith, Prague Elementary School principal.
The administrators first noticed the impact of physical activity on learning with their Action-Based Classroom (ABC). “We give the kids a reading comprehension test about 3 times a year. We noticed that when we had them go to the ABC for 20 minutes before the test, their test scores significantly improved,” said Ripley.
Smith has been the principal for three years and has emphasized the importance of physical activity at school.
“The more research you read, the more you see that physical activity and educational activity go hand-in-hand,” the principal said. “The whole point of school is to get kids to learn, so if we can try something to get kids to retain knowledge, that’s a plus.”
To learn more about this community effort, or to get involved, contact Sheri Ripley, Wellness Coordinator of the TSET Healthy Living Program at Lincoln County Health Department.
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