Asheville Middle School in ninth month without recess; Pro-recess parent coalition organizes forum

Here’s the press release from Asheville Middle School parents Amy Hamilton:

Parents at Asheville Middle School are concerned about the lack of recess and time spent outdoors during the school day at AMS. Students say it is affecting their well-being. School administration discontinued recess at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. A coalition of parents is coming together to restore daily outdoor recess by May 1.

Sixth-grade parent Vicki Meath, says, “When I send my child to school every morning, my hope is that school will provide opportunities for growth and whole child development. Recess provides a cognitive break, a time to soak in a little sunshine, opportunities for physical exercise, and plenty of social benefits. Recess is essential to the positive growth and development of the whole child.”

A multitude of child advocates, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say recess is essential to health. Research shows that a lack of regular, quality recess and outside time has a negative impact on the health and behavior of students in elementary and middle school.

As stated in an article by AAP, “Both recess and physical education in schools promote activity and a healthy lifestyle, and should be a daily break for young children and adolescents.” The AAP goes on to state the physical, social/emotional, and cognitive/academic benefits of daily recess in a policy statement, “The Crucial Role of Recess in Schools,” released in January 2013. This policy statement is in addition to the wealth of credible, existing research illustrating the importance of recess.

Seventh grader Copeland Timmer says “I am a student at Asheville Middle and will say that I believe there has been a decrease in morale, energy, and overall happiness since we have lost recess.” One Asheville Middle School sixth-grader says, “We feel trapped inside, especially on nice days. We’ve only been outside twice this whole year.”

In addition to the AAP, a large number of policy makers agree. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a conversation regarding America’s goals for elementary and middle-level education states “And I am a big fan of recess. We can bring recess back. Please quote me on that. I’m serious.”

Leslie Poplowski, seventh grade parent, says, “Every beautiful day when I pick up my son from school, and I know that he and 627 students have not been outside for any reason, I feel ill.”

An ad-hoc coalition of parents has organized a public forum and open discussion about this issue on Wednesday, April 17th at Pack Memorial Library at 6pm, where AMS students and parents are invited to share their voices and work towards solutions. School administrators and city school officials have been invited. Those interested in attending may RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/621338531214254/?ref=ts&fref=ts


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