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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 15, 2010

SCHOOLS OPEN NEW FRONT IN WAR AGAINST CHILDHOOD: RECESS COACHES

NY TIMES - At Broadway Elementary School here, there is no more sitting around after lunch. No more goofing off with friends. No more doing nothing.

Instead there is Brandi Parker, a $14-an-hour recess coach with a whistle around her neck, corralling children behind bright orange cones to play organized games. There she was the other day, breaking up a renegade game of hopscotch and overruling stragglers' lame excuses.

They were bored. They had tired feet. They were no good at running.

"I don't like to play," protested Esmeilyn Almendarez, 11.

"Why do I have to go through this every day with you?" replied Ms. Parker, waving her back in line. "There's no choice."

The school is one of a growing number across the country that are reining in recess to curb bullying and behavior problems, foster social skills and address concerns over obesity. They also hope to show children that there is good old-fashioned fun to be had without iPods and video games.

Playworks, a California-based nonprofit organization that hired Ms. Parker to run the recess program at Broadway Elementary, began a major expansion in 2008 with an $18 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It has placed recess coaches in 170 schools in low-income areas of nine cities, including Boston, Washington and Los Angeles, and of Silicon Valley.

Dr. Romina M. Barros, an assistant clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx who was an author of a widely cited study on the benefits of recess, published last year in the journal Pediatrics, says that children still benefit most from recess when they are let alone to daydream, solve problems, use their imagination to invent their own games and "be free to do what they choose to do."

Structured recess, Dr. Barros said, simply transplants the rules of the classroom to the playground.


1 Comments:

Anonymous robbie said...

There she was the other day, breaking up a renegade game of hopscotch

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

March 16, 2010 12:41 PM  

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