Malden faces conflict in standards for recess

January 25, 2017 by  

The Social, Emotional and Physical Well-being subcommittee of the Malden School Committee recently met and the main topic of discussion was recess, or, as Charles Grandson IV, Interim Superintendent, calls it “unstructured free play.”

Across the country, the amount of recess time has been decreased and some administrators and teachers are allowed by their district to withhold recess as punishment. This is not allowed by the policies of the district although it has been experienced by some children who need the time as a way to wind down from sensory overload.

One of the priorities of the district, according to Emmanuel Marsh, chairman of the committee, is to add or extend activity and recess time. However, Lawrence Silverman, member of the School Committee, pointed out a conflict if teachers get reprimanded for not have enough time devoted to learning.

The 2015-2018 District Plan for Malden reduces recess time by 25 percent per year, which translates to 75 percent over the three-year period. This also conflicts with the endeavor to increase unstructured play time over that same period.

Experts claim that one way around such a difficulty is to include learning of a social-emotional nature in general academic curricula, such as fine arts, social studies, language arts, and other subjects. Students could be involved in creating flyers and other materials that could improve their academic performance and behavior in school.