It all started when we were little. Recess. A time to play and interact with friends. Red Rover. Hopscotch. Swings. Monkey bars. Even a maypole. And it seemed like we were out there running around FOREVER! We could get in a solid kickball game or a serious game of tag. Now, our active play time requires us to be a bit more intentional by getting ourselves to the gym, going for a run, or scheduling a game of tennis. But we know the benefits of physical exercise and fitness. We experience first-hand, and we keep coming back for more!
Yet, in contrast, did you know that recess in Carmel elementary schools is just 15 minutes long? Yikes. That’s barely enough time to find your friends before you have to get in line to go back inside. Thankfully, Carmel is taking initiative in changing this policy, as cited in this IndyStar article. Superintendent Nicholas Wahl has given some latitude to teachers to allow them to identify times when the kids need more brain breaks so that they can better perform in the classroom. This is balanced with the state requirement of 5 hours of instruction for 1st-6th graders. In addition, Carmel has formed a committee of parents, staff, and administrators that will evaluate unstructured play while reviewing the district's elementary programming. This is movement in the right direction.
When you exercise, neuro transmitters are released into the brain, keeping us awake and alert. Exercise then stimulates nerve cells to grow and connect – which not only helps our muscles, but also our brain power! And the brain power of the kiddos in the classrooms. This short video gives a quick recap of what Carmel is trying to do with their recess programming. If you have kids in the school system and you want to encourage this initiative, there is a facebook group that you can join. Stay informed via your elementary schools and encourage healthy growth and development of our kids, their fitness, and their brains.
Real. Positive. Change.