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  • Meagan Dorsch
    Director of Public Affairs
  • Jon Kuhl
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Washington, D.C.
August 7, 2012

Not Just Child’s Play

Legislators Doing Jumping Jacks, Focusing on the Importance of Recess for Kids

CHICAGO – Lawmakers might be sweating this Tuesday afternoon, but it won’t be over legislation. Instead, state lawmakers from around the country will get a taste of what it means to be a kid again when they participate in recess activities and discuss why recess is an important part of education policy.
“Why Recess Matters” will feature research on how play can improve the emotional and social aspects of school, which restores valuable teaching time, reduces bullying, increases physical activity and improves the school and learning environment.
Playworks, a national nonprofit organization supporting play and physical activities in more than 300 low-income schools in 23 cities, will present the event. Transforming recess into a safe, fun and inclusive time that gets students active and engaged, Playworks teaches children to resolve their own conflicts that arise at recess and carry over to the classroom.
“As we look at ways to improve our schools, we shouldn’t overlook recess,” said Maryland State Senator Bill Ferguson. “Recess gives kids a chance to recharge during the school day, and for some kids it’s the only chance they have to be active. As a former educator, I know that skills like teamwork and good sportsmanship can’t always be taught in a classroom. Playworks is doing great things in Baltimore, and across the country, helping kids get the most out of each school day.”
Playworks CEO and Founder Jill Vialet will lead the discussion. Vialet was recognized by Forbes magazine in the “Forbes Impact 30” list of social entrepreneurs. “Why Recess Matters” will take place during the NCSL Education Committee Session on Tuesday, August  7 from 3:30 - 4:30 pm at the 2012 Legislative Summit in Chicago, Ill.
Regular physical activity reduces risk for obesity and is linked to enhanced academic performance in students. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that children engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, yet fewer than half of children ages 6 to 11 meet that recommendation.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.