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This study examines the amount of recess that children 8 to 9 years of age receive in the United States and compares the group classroom behavior of children receiving daily recess with that of children not receiving daily recess. This is a secondary analysis of a public-use data set, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999, third-grade data set. Children were categorized into 2 levels of recess exposure, that is, none/minimal break (<1 break of 15 minutes/day) or some recess. Some recess was further categorized into 5 levels on the basis of frequency and duration of recess. Child, parent, school, and classroom characteristics of those with and without recess were compared. The group classroom behavior was assessed by using the teacher's rating of class behavior. Complete data were available for 10301 to 11624 children 8 to 9 years of age. There were equal numbers of boys and girls (boys: 50.3%). Children exposed to none/minimal break (30%) were much more likely to be black, to be from families with lower incomes and lower levels of education, to live in large cities, to be from the Northeast or South, and to attend public school, compared with those with recess. Teacher's rating of classroom behavior scores were better for children with some recess than for those with none/minimal break. This finding was maintained in multivariate regression analysis. However, among children receiving daily recess, the teacher's rating of class behavior scores did not differ significantly according to the level of exposure. These results indicated that, among 8- to 9-year-old children, having > or =1 daily recess period of >15 minutes in length was associated with better teacher's rating of class behavior scores. This study suggests that schoolchildren in this age group should be provided with daily recess.
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DOI: 10.1542/peds.2007-2825
2009;123;431-436 Pediatrics
Romina M. Barros, Ellen J. Silver and Ruth E. K. Stein
School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior
located on the World Wide Web at:
The online version of this article, along with updated information and services, is
rights reserved. Print ISSN: 0031-4005. Online ISSN: 1098-4275.
Grove Village, Illinois, 60007. Copyright © 2009 by the American Academy of Pediatrics. All
and trademarked by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 141 Northwest Point Boulevard, Elk
publication, it has been published continuously since 1948. PEDIATRICS is owned, published,
PEDIATRICS is the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. A monthly
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School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior
Romina M. Barros, MD, Ellen J. Silver, PhD, Ruth E. K. Stein, MD
Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and Rose F. Kennedy Center, Bronx, New York
The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose.
What’s Known on This Subject
Three small studies have suggested that students without recess may have difficulty
concentrating on specific tasks in the classroom, are restless, and may be easily
What This Study Adds
Our study examined the relationship between school recess and group classroom be-
havior in a nationally representative sample. This study showed that a break during the
school day was associated with better TRCB scores.
OBJECTIVES. This study examines the amount of recess that children 8 to 9 years of age
receive in the United States and compares the group classroom behavior of children
receiving daily recess with that of children not receiving daily recess.
METHODS. This is a secondary analysis of a public-use data set, the Early Childhood
Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998 –1999, third-grade data set. Children
were categorized into 2 levels of recess exposure, that is, none/minimal break (1
break of 15 minutes/day) or some recess. Some recess was further categorized into 5
levels on the basis of frequency and duration of recess. Child, parent, school, and
classroom characteristics of those with and without recess were compared. The group
classroom behavior was assessed by using the teacher’s rating of class behavior.
RESULTS. Complete data were available for 10 301 to 11 624 children 8 to 9 years of
age. There were equal numbers of boys and girls (boys: 50.3%). Children exposed to
none/minimal break (30%) were much more likely to be black, to be from families
with lower incomes and lower levels of education, to live in large cities, to be from
the Northeast or South, and to attend public school, compared with those with
recess. Teacher’s rating of classroom behavior scores were better for children with
some recess than for those with none/minimal break. This finding was maintained in
multivariate regression analysis. However, among children receiving daily recess, the
teacher’s rating of class behavior scores did not differ significantly according to the
level of exposure.
CONCLUSIONS. These results indicated that, among 8- to 9-year-old children, having 1 daily recess period of 15
minutes in length was associated with better teacher’s rating of class behavior scores. This study suggests that
schoolchildren in this age group should be provided with daily recess. Pediatrics 2009;123:431–436
PLAY IS WIDELY recognized as an important aspect of child development.1–3 During free play, children increase their
imagination and creativity, organize their own games, develop their own rules, learn problem-solving skills, and
practice leadership.2,3 A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics states that free unstructured play is healthy
and is essential for helping children reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones, as
well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.1
Children need free play at home and at school.1The time assigned for free play at school is known as recess. Recess
is defined as a break during the school day that allows children the time for active free play.3,4 A key component of
recess is that it is unstructured and undirected.3On the basis of the literature and as stated by the National Association
for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), school recess should be provided at least once daily, for 20 minutes.5,6
Recess provides children with discretionary time and opportunities to engage in physical activity.7–9 Inactivity is a
major risk factor for childhood health problems.5,7 Active children usually grow up to be active adults.3The most
obvious characteristic of recess is that it constitutes a break from the day’s routine.10 By allowing a mental change and
release of energy, recess may have other benefits for classroom behavior; students may be more attentive to academic
tasks and less fidgety in the classroom afterward.7,11
Three studies that focused directly on the effects of recess on children’s school performance found that, in general,
students were better able to focus attention on the teacher and on assigned tasks after recess.12–14 In the first study,
23 fourth-graders were observed for 14 weeks, and their attentiveness and fidgetiness before and after recess were
documented. Children became more fidgety and less attentive when recess was delayed.12 The second study showed
that students were less attentive before recess than after recess and were more inattentive when recess was delayed
Key Words
school recess, child behavior, physical
activity, play
ECLS-K—Early Childhood Longitudinal
Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998 –1999
TRCB—teacher’s rating of classroom
NASPE—National Association for Sport
and Physical Education
Accepted for publication May 22, 2008
Address correspondence to Romina M. Barros,
MD, 1165 Morris Park Ave, Bronx, NY 10461.
PEDIATRICS (ISSN Numbers: Print, 0031-4005;
Online, 1098-4275). Copyright © 2009 by the
American Academy of Pediatrics
PEDIATRICS Volume 123, Number 2, February 2009 431
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longer.13 In the third study, which was conducted in a
school that did not have recess, 2 fourth-grade classes
were given recess on a random schedule, with attentive-
ness and fidgetiness being documented before and after
recess. The majority of students were more attentive and
less fidgety after recess.14 These results should be inter-
preted with caution, however, because they are based on
limited sample sizes at individual schools. Furthermore,
in the 2 studies by Pellegrini et al,12,13 the children ex-
pected to have recess, and anticipation might have con-
tributed to inattentiveness and fidgeting when recess
was delayed.
In the United States, the ways in which recess is
defined and implemented vary tremendously,15 and the
data available are somewhat confusing. According to an
unpublished survey conducted by the American Associ-
ation for the Child’s Right to Play and cited in many
articles, 40% of public schools have eliminated or are
planning to eliminate 1 recess period from the school
day.16–19 However, a report based on a survey conducted
by the National Center for Education Statistics stated
that 83% to 88% of children in public elementary
schools have recess.20 In that study, the number of recess
sessions per day and the duration of the recess periods
varied greatly. Furthermore, children were reported to
have recess even when the school provided recess only
once per week or the recess period lasted 15 minutes.
In conclusion, little is known about how many children
have recess and how much time is assigned to this ac-
tivity in the United States. Therefore, this study exam-
ined the amount of recess that children 8 to 9 years of
age receive in the United States and compared the group
classroom behavior of children of the same age receiving
daily recess or not receiving recess. We hypothesized
that children who received recess would behave better
in the classroom as a group, compared with those who
did not receive recess.
Data Set
Data for these analyses came from the Early Childhood
Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998 –1999
(ECLS-K), third-grade data set, a nationally representa-
tive sample.21 The ECLS-K is sponsored by the US De-
partment of Education.21
The ECLS-K is an ongoing study that focuses on chil-
dren’s longitudinal experiences from kindergarten
through middle school.21 It is a multisource multimethod
study that includes interviews with parents, collection of
data from principals and teachers and from student
record abstracts, and direct assessments of children.21
The children in the ECLS-K are from both public and
private schools and from diverse socioeconomic and ra-
cial/ethnic backgrounds.21 Children and their families,
teachers, and schools provide information on the chil-
dren’s home, school, and classroom environments and
classroom curriculum.21 The ECLS-K third-grade data
collection used computer-assisted interviewing for par-
ent interviews and child assessments.21 Self-adminis-
tered questionnaires were used to collect information
from teachers and school administrators.21
The third-grade data set contains information on 15 305
children 8 to 9 years of age. The third-grade data were
collected in the spring of the 2001–2002 school year,
when 89% of the children interviewed were in third
grade, 9% were in second grade, and 1% were in
fourth grade or higher. Third-graders who repeated sec-
ond or third grade, recent immigrants, and children who
did not have the chance to be in the sample in kinder-
garten or first grade were not included.
Recess Data
The teachers’ questionnaire contained 3 questions about
recess, with fixed responses. The teachers were asked
about the number of days per week children have recess,
how many times per day children have recess, and the
amount of time the children spend in recess, in 15-
minute intervals. Information on the number of days per
week of scheduled recess and the length and number of
recess periods per day was used to create a new variable
to categorize children into 2 levels, that is, none/mini-
mal break versus some recess.None/minimal break was
defined as no break during the school day, a break 5
days per week, or a break 5 days per week but only once
per day for 15 minutes. Children reported to have
some recess were categorized into different levels of
exposure. Information about the time assigned to lunch
also was obtained from the teachers’ questionnaire and
was included in this categorization. Some recess was
categorized into 5 levels, which are shown in Table 1.
Physical Education Data
Another point of interest was assessing how much phys-
ical activity children with no recess were having. Data on
the frequency with which children participated in phys-
ical education were gathered from the teachers’ ques-
tionnaire and classified into 4 groups, that is, never/less
than once per week, once or twice per week, 3 or 4 times
per week, or daily.
TABLE 1 Proportions of Children Receiving Different Amounts of
Frequency Daily Recess
None/minimal break None or
5 d/wk
Once 15 30
Some recess 70
Little recess Daily Twice or more 1–15 5
More recess Daily Twice or more 16–30 18
A lot of recess Daily Twice or more 30 20
Minimal recess/lunch Daily Once 16–30 26
Recess/lunch of 30
Daily Once 30 1
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Demographic Characteristics
The children’s and parents’ characteristics were obtained
from the parents’ questionnaire. The children’s charac-
teristics included in the study were gender and ethnicity.
Ethnicity was classified as white non-Hispanic, black,
Hispanic, or other/mixed. The parents’ characteristics
included annual household income and parental educa-
tion. The annual household income was categorized by
the ECLS-K. For this study, parental education was clas-
sified as less than high school, high school degree or
equivalent, some college, bachelor’s degree or equiva-
lent, or graduate education.
School Characteristics
The school characteristics were obtained from the school
administrators’ questionnaire and included location, re-
gion, and type of school (private versus public). School
location was classified as large/medium-sized city, large/
medium-sized town, or small town/rural.
Classroom Characteristics
The classroom characteristics were obtained from the
teachers’ questionnaire and included number of stu-
dents in the classroom, classroom academic level, pro-
portion of boys in the class, proportion of students eli-
gible for free lunch, and proportion of minorities in the
class. The number of students in the classroom was
classified as 10 to 20 students or 21 students. Class-
room academic level was measured by using the propor-
tions of children in the classroom above grade level in
reading and math, obtained from the teachers’ question-
Group Classroom Behavior
The main outcome of the study was group classroom
behavior, which was assessed by using the teacher’s
rating of classroom behavior (TRCB), also obtained from
the teachers’ questionnaire. The teachers were asked to
rate the behavior in their class by using a rating scale of
1 to 5: 1, misbehaves very frequently and is almost
always difficult to handle; 2, misbehaves frequently and
is often difficult to handle; 3, misbehaves occasionally; 4,
behaves well; 5, behaves exceptionally well.
Data Analysis
Frequency analyses were used to assess the proportions
of children exposed to none/minimal break versus some
recess and the proportions of children with some recess
in each level of exposure to recess. Frequency analysis
also was used to assess the amount of physical education
provided in the school to children who were exposed to
none/minimal break. The child, parent, and school char-
acteristics of children exposed to none/minimal break
were compared with those of children exposed to some
recess by using cross-tabulation and
analyses. TRCB
scores were compared for children with and without
recess by using an independent ttest. Because the chil-
dren’s characteristics and school and classroom charac-
teristics might be related to differences in classroom
behavior, these factors were entered with recess expo-
sure into a multivariate regression analysis with TRCB
scores as the dependent variable. The characteristics
used as control variables were proportion of boys in the
class, proportion of students eligible for free lunch, pro-
portion of students above grade in math, proportion of
students above grade in reading, number of students in
the class, parental education, school location, school re-
gion, and school type. Finally, the relationship between
TRCB scores and the 5 levels of exposure to recess was
examined first by using analysis of variance and then by
using multivariate linear regression analysis to adjust for
child, parental, and school characteristics as potential
confounders, as outlined above. All analyses were per-
formed by using SPSS (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL).
Depending on the variables analyzed, complete data var-
ied from 10 301 to 11 624 children between the ages of
8 and 9 years. There were equal numbers of boys and
girls. There was no significant difference in background
characteristics between children who were included in
the study and those who were not included because of
missing data.
The distribution of exposure to different levels of
recess is shown in Table 1. Among children between the
ages of 8 and 9 years, 30% were not exposed to recess at
all or had a 15-minute daily break. Moreover, among
those children, almost 65% had physical education in
school twice per week or less (Fig 1).
Table 2 compares the demographic, parental, and
school characteristics of the children who had none/
minimal break and those who received some recess. As
shown, children without recess were significantly more
likely to be black or Hispanic (
824.2), to live in a
large or medium-sized city (
271.03), to live in the
South (
1884.13), and to attend public school (
278.53) (all P.001). They also came from families
with lower income (
288.02) and less parental
education (
161.36). In comparison, only 29% of
children who received some recess lived in families with
annual incomes of less than $40 000 (P.001). The
parents of children who had none/minimal recess were
significantly less likely to have a college education or
higher (35% vs 42%; P.001). No differences were
noted according to gender or class size.
Table 3 shows the results of the bivariate analysis
using an independent ttest to compare the TRCB score
16 20
None 1–2/wk 3–4/w k Daily
Amounts of physical education among children with none/minimal break.
PEDIATRICS Volume 123, Number 2, February 2009 433
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means of the 2 groups. As shown, the TRCB scores were
better for children in the some recess group than those in
none/minimal break group. The same results were ob-
served in multivariate regression analysis after adjust-
ment for potential confounders (Table 4). Analysis of
variance demonstrated a relationship between TRCB
scores and the 5 levels of exposure to recess (F
5,11 523
17.55) (Table 5). Posthoc analyses showed that the
groups with each level of recess were significantly dif-
ferent from the none/minimal break group but no sig-
nificant differences were observed among the groups
with different levels of exposure to recess (data available
on request). These results did not change in the multi-
variate regression analysis.
A study conducted by the Institute for Social Research at
the University of Michigan showed that, since the late
1970s, children have lost 12 hours/week in free time,
including a 25% decrease in play and a 50% decrease
in unstructured outdoor activities.22 Presently, many
schoolchildren are given less free time and fewer phys-
ical outlets at school, because many school districts re-
TABLE 3 Bivariate Comparison of TRCB Scores for Children With
None/Minimal Break Versus Some Recess
NTRCB Score, Mean SD
None/minimal break 3369 3.44 0.900
Some recess
8160 3.60 0.854
TABLE 4 Multivariate Comparison of TRCB Scores for Children
With None/Minimal Break Versus Some Recess
Confidence Interval)
Some recess 0.042 (0.032–0.129) .001
Proportion of boys in
0.154 (1.689 to 1.263) .001
Proportion of students
eligible for free
0.097 (0.364 to 0.174) .001
Proportion of students
above grade in
0.108 (0.370–0.681) .001
Proportion of students
above grade in
0.045 (0.059–0.361) .006
No. of students in class 0.062 (0.018 to 0.008) .001
Proportion of
minorities in class
0.091 (0.070 to 0.034) .001
Parental education 0.031 (0.004–0.040) .017
Midwest 0.057 (0.164 to 0.049) .001
South 0.039 (0.131 to 0.015) .014
West 0.025 (0.011 to 0.123) .103
Large suburb 0.021 (0.010 to 0.084) .121
Small town/rural 0.076 (0.205 to 0.096) .001
Private school 0.041 (0.141 to 0.034) .001
TABLE 2 Comparison of Demographic, Parental, and School
Characteristics of Children With None/Minimal Break
Versus Some Recess
Characteristics Nn(%)
11 612
White non-Hispanic 7093 1647 (48.1) 5446 (66.5)
Black 1380 814 (23.8) 566 (6.9)
Hispanic 1808 688 (20.1) 1120 (13.7)
Other/mixed 1331 276 (8.1) 1055 (12.9)
Gender 11 624
Male 5866 1712 (49.9) 4154 (50.7)
Female 5758 1717 (50.1) 4041 (49.3)
Parental education
10 301
Less than high school 710 300 (10.3) 410 (5.5)
High school or equivalent 2610 858 (29.5) 1752 (23.7)
Some college 2949 836 (28.7) 2113 (28.6)
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent 2144 519 (17.8) 1625 (22)
Graduate education 1888 398 (13.7) 1490 (20.2)
Parental income
10 301
Lees than $5000 221 105 (3.6) 116 (1.6)
$5000-$10 000 288 126 (4.3) 162 (2.2)
$10 001–$15 000 487 196 (6.7) 291 (3.9)
$15 001–20 000 569 226 (7.8) 343 (4.6)
$20 001–25 000 615 229 (7.9) 386 (5.2)
$25 001–30 000 690 233 (8) 457 (6.2)
$30 001–35 000 540 161 (5.5) 379 (5.1)
$35 001–40 000 738 217 (7.5) 521 (7.1)
$40 001–50 000 1155 304 (10.4) 851 (11.5)
$50 001–75 000 2036 511 (17.6) 1525 (20.6)
$75 001–100 000 1471 320 (11) 1151 (15.6)
$100 001–200 000 1149 220 (7.6) 929 (12.6)
More than $200 001 342 63 (2.2) 279 (3.8)
School location
11 418
Large/middle-sized city 4057 1498 (44.5) 2559 (31.8)
Large/middle-sized town 4505 1338 (39.7) 3167 (39.3)
Small town/rural 2856 531 (15.8) 2325 (28.9)
School region
11 624
Northeast 2167 641 (18.7) 1526 (18.6)
Midwest 3255 450 (13.1) 2805 (34.2)
South 3818 2069 (60.3) 1749 (21.3)
West 2384 269 (7.8) 2115 (25.8)
School type
11 619
Public 9199 3048 (88.9) 6151 (75.1)
Private 2420 381 (11.1) 2039 (24.9)
Class size 11 552
10–20 students 5462 1582 (46.5) 3880 (47.6)
21 students 6090 1820 (53.5) 4270 (52.4)
TABLE 5 Bivariate Comparison of TRCB Scores According to Level
of Exposure to Recess
Level of Exposure NTRCB Score, Mean SD
(95% Confidence
None/minimal break 3369 3.44 0.900(3.41–3.47)
Little recess
595 3.62 0.811(3.55–3.68)
More recess
2132 3.57 0.900(3.53–3.60)
A lot of recess
2299 3.61 0.829(3.58–3.64)
Minimal recess/lunch
3027 3.60 0.845(3.57–3.63)
Recess/lunch of 30 min
107 3.74 0.925(3.56–3.92)
P.001 for none/minimal break versus all other groups.
434 BARROS et al by guest on April 29, 2009 www.pediatrics.orgDownloaded from
sponded to the No Child Left Behind Act of 200123 by
reducing time committed to recess, the creative arts, and
even physical education in an effort to focus on reading
and mathematics.16,19,22,24–27
The present study illustrates that this trend especially
affects children who come from disadvantaged back-
grounds. Children who did not receive scheduled recess
at school were more likely to be from lower-income
families and from black and Hispanic ethnic groups. This
raises concern, in light of evidence that many children
from disadvantaged backgrounds are not free to roam
their neighborhoods or even their own yards unless they
are accompanied by adults.28 For many of these children,
recess periods may be the only opportunity for them to
practice their social skills with other children.10,29
Childhood health problems caused by inactivity or
underactivity represent a growing problem in the United
States.7Since the 1970s, the prevalence of obesity
among children has more than doubled for children 2 to
5 years of age and adolescents 12 to 19 years of age and
has more than tripled for children 6 to 11 years of
age.30,31 Children spend a large majority of their day in
school, during which recess and physical education pro-
vide the opportunity for physical activity.6,32,33 The
NASPE guidelines suggest that children between the
ages of 5 and 12 years should have 60 minutes of
physical activity per day, and periods of 2 hours of
inactivity are discouraged.6These data illustrate that,
among the 30% of children who had none/minimal
break, almost two thirds had minimal physical activity in
school. The results of this study suggest that many chil-
dren between the ages of 8 and 9 years may not meet the
NASPE recommendations and are at risk for becoming
Moreover, recess may be an important element of
classroom management and behavior guidance.11 Find-
ings in this study suggest that recess may have a benefit
for overall group classroom behavior. Studies by Pelle-
grini et al12,13 and Jarrett et al14 concluded that students
were less attentive and worked less efficiently when
confined to their classrooms in continuous instructional
time. Those findings support the importance of recess for
student attentiveness in the classroom. A change in ac-
ademic instruction or class topic does not offer a mental
change or a physical release.1,34 Even a formal, struc-
tured, physical education class may not offer the same
benefit as recess.5,15,35
Evidence from Asian schools suggests that children’s
attention to class work is maximized when structured
time is relatively short and is followed by breaks.15,36 In
most Asian elementary schools, students are given a
10-minute break after every 40 to 50 minutes of instruc-
tional time, depending on the grade.15,36 In this study,
however, the overall group classroom behavior ratings
did not differ significantly according to the frequency of
or the time assigned for recess, which suggests that
group classroom behavior is better among those pro-
vided with even 1 daily recess of 15 minutes in length.
Failure to demonstrate any differences among recess
groups may be partly a reflection of some of the limita-
tions of this study. First, data were obtained from a data
set in which no definition of recess was provided in the
teachers’ questionnaires, which allowed teachers to ap-
ply different definitions. In this study, adequate recess
was defined on the basis of the literature, which suggests
that recess should be provided for 20 minutes.5In this
data set, the length of recess was recorded in periods of
15 minutes; therefore, we selected 15 minutes as being
closest to the recommended minimal period. Second,
information about lunchtime and recess was overlap-
ping in some response categories. Therefore, conclusions
could not be drawn regarding the adequacy of these
children’s recess time. Another limitation was that the
analysis was performed according to the number of chil-
dren, because the data did not provide the information
necessary to cluster the number of classrooms. Further-
more, because children’s classroom behavior was used to
assess the effect of recess on group classroom behavior
and not individual classroom behavior, it is not possible
to exclude potential bias from the teacher’s feelings
about recess. Teachers whose classes had recess might
feel differently about the behavior of the students in
their classrooms, because they also might benefit from
this break. In addition, because the data analyzed in this
study were only for children between the ages of 8 and
9 years, the findings cannot be generalized to other age
This study showed that a break during the school day of
15 minutes was associated with better TRCB scores. In
addition, the available research suggests that recess may
play an important role in the learning, social develop-
ment, and health of children in elementary school.10
However, more research is needed to explore the appro-
priate balance between structured time and recess/phys-
ical activity for healthy child development and to assess
the effect of no-recess policies on students’ behavior and
academic achievements.
A recent report from the American Academy of Pe-
diatrics stated that every child deserves the opportunity
to develop to his or her unique potential and that child
advocates must consider all factors that interfere with
optimal development and should press for circumstances
that allow each child to gain the full advantages associ-
ated with play.1Pediatricians have a unique and impor-
tant opportunity to promote free play as an essential part
of childhood, emphasizing that play is necessary for
healthy development and optimal brain development.1
Pediatricians who serve as advisors in their communities
can advocate free play in school and in after-school
programs and can advise parents to learn about recess
and physical activity provided by the school before they
select a school program for their child.
We express profound gratitude to Drs Maris Rosenberg,
Blanche Benenson, and Howard Demb for invaluable sup-
port, encouragement, and useful suggestions throughout
this study.
PEDIATRICS Volume 123, Number 2, February 2009 435
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School Recess and Group Classroom Behavior
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... With increased autonomy over the school day (DFE, 2011), it is likely that schools with different characteristics and in different socio-economic or geographical contexts may organise their school day and breaktimes in different ways (e.g., to reduce travel at peak times). Research in the US has found that schools in more deprived neighbourhoods have less recess time than schools in wealthier locations (Barros et al., 2009;Ramstetter et al., 2010). It may also be the case that where urban pollution levels are high, schools allow less time for breaks than in more rural areas with cleaner air. ...
... Contrary to the views of some school staff, there is a developing evidence base for the value of breaks for improving behaviour generally (Barros et al., 2009) and in class after breaks (Jarrett et al., 1998), for enabling children to concentrate more when learning in class Rhea & Rivchun, 2018), and it is likely that the social-interaction skills provide important benefits when children engage in collaborative work in the classroom (Baines et al., 2009;Kutnick & Blatchford, 2012). The relationships and associated skills children develop provide a basis for future relationships (Bagwell & Schmidt, 2013) The changes to breaktimes also have a wider importance in relation to children's social lives more generally. ...
... It was noticeable that the figures for the total amount of break in independent secondary schools are largely unchanged since 1995. These findings are surprising, though reflect similar trends in the US (Barros et al., 2009;Ramstetter et al., 2010). Children in state funded schools and especially those with high levels of pupils in receipt of FSM may be missing out in terms of the development of informal 'soft skills' not developed in classroom settings. ...
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Breaktimes are ubiquitous in English schools. Research suggests they have social value for children, but school staff often have a range of concerns about breaktimes and tend to undervalue them. However, there is little understanding about these times, not least because data are not collected about their organisation and characteristics. This paper brings together data from three national surveys undertaken in 1995, 2006 and 2017 of head teachers of primary and secondary schools to provide an understanding of the nature, organisation and staff attitudes towards breaktimes and how they have changed over 25 years. At each survey point, completed questionnaires were received from representative random samples of over 1000 primary and secondary schools. Results showed marked reductions in the average total amount of time for breaks, the virtual abolition of afternoon breaks and a decline in time available for lunchtime breaks. The reductions were largely for behavioural reasons and to increase time for learning. Results also show variations in the length of breaktimes across school types and in relation to socioeconomic disadvantage, and changes to the amount of supervision provided by schools. Attitudes towards breaks varied across primary and secondary phases, and the withholding of breaks was used by schools to address poor pupil behaviour and disengagement. Schools continued to have concerns about the management of behaviour during breaktimes, even when breaks had already been shortened. It is suggested that staff undervalue the potential contribution that breaktimes afford the development and wellbeing of children and young people in school.
... There, children are always running around, as if their energy source were inexhaustible. Children will have the chance to explore free play which will increase their imagination and their creative capacity, give them the opportunity to organize their own games, to create their own rules and to master the right skills to solve problems in interaction with their peers (Eira,2014;Ramstetter, Murray & Garner, 2010;Marques, 2010;Barros, Silver & Stein, 2009;Smith, 2003;Neto, 2003). Therefore, school recess is a fundamental space for children's physical, cognitive, social, and affective development (Ramstetter, Murray & Garner, 2010; National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 2006; Council on Physical Education for Children, 2001; National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1998). ...
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Introduction: Play is strongly related to learning, especially during the early years of a child's life and evidence shows that the child discovers and explores the world that surrounds him as he uses his toys and takes part in different types of games. Play assumes then a fundamental pedagogical function and represents an innate way of learning that allow children to develop their own ability to explore and master their surroundings in such a simple and formative way. Objectives: We designed the corpus of the study that included the following objectives: (i) to learn more about the participants’ perspectives on the role played by playful activities and school recess in the learning of primary education children; (ii) to identify the activities that children enjoy the most during recess; (iii) to understand how schools conceive their recreational spaces and facilities. Methods: The research instrument of choice was the semi-structured individual interview. This instrument was based on a set of sixteen questions given to primary school teachers who were teaching in two school groupings located in the district of Viseu. The target population of our study is composed of six primary school teachers whose career span ranges between 10 and 30 years of professional activity in this particular educational stage. A three phase content analysis was then carried out to process the amount of data obtained. Results: The participants realize that playing is strongly connected to learning and that the child discovers the role he will play in the world as he engages in different playful activities. School recess is one of the children’s favourite school settings as it offers them moments of joy and social pleasure. This is a place where socialization takes on great significance, both through peer-to-peer interaction and through the interaction that the children will develop with the adults who are responsible for them. Conclusions: Recess and playful moments benefit all children and will play a decisive role in their overall development. In this case, teachers claim to know the children's favourite free time activities and use outdoors space to implement some activities for some of their classes, especially when it involves experiences in which contact with nature will facilitate the students’ learning. The importance of such activities seems to be gaining more and more recognition among experts.
... The PA Guidelines for Americans (7) suggest that, as part of the school strategy to increase MVPA, school-day segments (such as physical education and recess) are opportunities for providing MVPA (7). School recess is an essential school experience that has developmental (27) and behavioral (3) benefits. Recess also serves as a necessary break from the rigors of academic challenges (29). ...
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Purpose: School recess provides a valuable opportunity for children's daily moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). This study aimed to quantify MVPA during school recess in a representative sample of Scottish children and examine whether recess MVPA varied by gender, socioeconomic status, season, urban/rural residency, and recess length. Method: Five-day accelerometry MVPA data were analyzed from 773 children (53.9% girls, 46.1% boys, 10- to 11-y-olds) from 471 schools. Binary logistic regression explored associations between meeting/not meeting the recommendation to spend 40% of recess time in MVPA and the aforementioned risk factors. Descriptive recess data were also analyzed. Results: Participants spent an average of 3.2 minutes (SD 2.1) in MVPA during recess. Girls engaged in 2.5 minutes (SD 1.7) of MVPA compared with 4.0 minutes (SD 2.2) for boys. Only 6% of children met the recess MVPA recommendation. The odds of girls (odds ratio 0.09; 95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.25) meeting the recommendation was lower (P < .001) compared with boys. No statistically significant differences were observed in meeting the recommendation for the other risk factors. Conclusion: Levels of MVPA during school recess are very low in Scottish children, and interventions aimed at increasing MVPA during recess are needed.
... Outside of physical education time, classroom teachers directly control school-day opportunities for PA, such as movement integration into academic lessons and movement breaks throughout a lesson, and classroom teachers are also often the most frequent point of contact for encouraging family member involvement (item e). PA during school is important as it is linked in children and adolescents to numerous positive outcomes for academic improvement such as increased attention to tasks (Donnelly & Lambourne, 2011), improved cognitive control (Donnelly & Lambourne, 2011;Hillman et al., 2009), increased time on task (Barros et al., 2009;Gabbard & Barton, 1979;Jarrett et al., 1998;Mahar et al., 2006), decreased fidgeting (Jarrett et al., 1998), improved classroom behavior (Stylianou et al., 2016), and improved concentration (McNaughten & Gabbard, 1993). Centeio et al. (2021) have also reported improvements in curriculum-based academic achievement with the implementation of an 8-month whole-school PA program across six elementary schools (4 intervention and 2 comparison schools). ...
Although physical education teachers generally act as the physical activity champion and promote adherence to whole-school physical activity programs, classroom teachers manage the majority of students' access to movement throughout the school day. Purpose: To support the adoption of a whole-school physical activity program, this study developed an instrument that identifies barriers perceived by classroom teachers related to adopting this type of program in their school. Method: A four-step process provided the conceptual framework for this instrument development (literature review, expert review, quantitative evaluation, and validation). The final validation phase (N = 520 teachers) included two individual analyses to separately evaluate respondents from elementary (K-5) and secondary levels (6-12). Each group was randomly split to run exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the models. Results: CFA results support models with adequate fit to the data for barriers for elementary, e.g., (SRMR = 0.0726; Bentler CFI = 0.92.79) and secondary (SRMR = 0.0813; Bentler CFI = 0.9374) teachers for whole-school programming. Conclusion: This instrument can be used by school personnel and researchers to understand perceived barriers for classroom teachers to implement a whole-school physical activity program in their context and then follow up to remove or reduce the barriers.
... Базовими принципами, якими ми керувалися на заняттях з ментального фітнесу, були принципи, закладені Й. Пілатесом в ідеологію гімнастики [4,8,9], а саме: релаксація, концентрація, вирівнювання і центрування, правильне дихання, плавність виконання, витривалість, координація. ...
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Анотація. Вступ. Особливої уваги в сучасних умовах вищої школи вимагають організація та методика використання оздоровчих технологій у фізичному вихованні студентів. Процес удосконалення методики фізичного виховання стимулює пошук нових, більш раціональних способів розв’язання цієї проблеми. Мета роботи – розкрити особливості застосування та визначити вплив ментального фітнесу на фізичну підготовленість студентів. Методи дослідження: аналіз та узагальнення науково-методичної літератури; педагогічні методи (експеримент, тестування); методи математичної статистики. В експерименті брали участь 40 студентів віком 17- 18 років, які навчалися на I курсі природничо-технологічного факультету Університету Григорія Сковороди в Переяславі. Результати. Застосування ментального фітнесу у заняттях зі студентами експериментальної групи дозволили значно покращити показники наступних контрольних випробуваннях: утримання рівноваги; нахил тулуба вперед з положення сидячи; згинання і розгинання рук в опорі. Ці результати підтверджують висновки науковців, стосовно високої ефективності системи ментального фітнесу у фізичному вихованні студентської молоді. Висновки. Результати педагогічного експерименту підтверджують висновки науковців про позитивний вплив ментального фітнесу на рівень фізичної підготовленості студентів. Широкий спектр та різноманітність вправ дозволяють ефективно використовувати ментальний фітнес у фізичному вихованні студентів, враховуючи їх індивідуальні особливості.
... Recess provides an important opportunity for students, particularly elementary school students, to acquire daily PA minutes and enhance their academic, cognitive, physical, and social skills. 22 In fact, recess may be the most significant source of PA at school as movement during recess provides up to 44% of all school-based PA. 23 Additionally, PA during recess is associated with better classroom behavior, improved concentration, and less fidgeting in the classroom, 24 and further promotes autonomy and socialemotional development by giving children the opportunity to interact and negotiate with others. 25 Both national (eg, SHAPE America) and public health (eg, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) organizations recommend 20 minutes of daily recess and encourage protecting recess time. ...
Background: Many school-based physical activity statutes and regulations have been enacted, with the expectation that schools will comply. However, policy alone does not equate to implementation, and many policies fail for a variety of reasons. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the strength of reported state, district, and school-level physical activity policies were associated with reported recess, physical education, and other school-based physical activity practices at elementary schools in Arizona. Methods: A modified Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) Questionnaire was administered to staff at elementary schools across Arizona (N = 171). Summative indices of the number of school physical activity policies and best practices at the state, district, and school levels were created. Relationships between policy strength and best practices were examined using linear regression analyses stratified by recess, physical education, and other school-based physical activity practices. Results: Stronger physical activity-related policies were associated with a greater number of recess (F1,142 = 9.87, P < .05), physical education (F4,148 = 4.58, P < .05, Adj. R2 = .09), and other school-based physical activity (F4,148 = 4.04, P < .05, Adj. R2 = .07) best practices at all levels while controlling for school-level demographic factors. Conclusions: The strength of policies may improve opportunities for comprehensive physical activity for children in schools. Strengthening policy language (eg, specifying duration and frequency) may contribute to better physical activity practices in schools, improving children's health at the population level.
... Students will most certainly make social mistakes during recess periods; transparency around fair and equitable ways to manage behaviors and social conflicts will assist in transforming such social missteps into learning opportunities. Knowing that certain racialized communities experience more discipline in schools (Barros et al., 2009), it is paramount that schools take an equity lens to their responses. Educators, supervisors, and administrators all need to examine their own biases and expectations around young children's behavior, and use an approach that does not unfairly target children based on race, ethnicity, abilities, or gender. ...
Recess is an important and unique component of the school day, and yet there is a relative paucity of research on its impact on young children. Moreover, recesses are often perceived negatively by educators because they can detract from academic instructional time and, depending on the kind of play and interactions between students, may also be times of social conflict and, in some cases, exclusion and bullying. This article examines several facets of recess and its importance: it outlines what students do at recess and the social processes that take place, as well as challenges specific to recess time, and its impact on social-emotional learning. It then reviews what constitutes a high-quality recess and synthesizes scholarship on the effectiveness of recess interventions around the world. The article evaluates whether recess is ultimately a help or a hindrance to young children’s social-emotional development, and concludes with both policy and practice recommendations for educators.
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This study examine the impact of environmental factors on student’s educational background and their future performance among 500 male and female students of high school classes four tehsils of district Bhakkar. Environmental factors have both type of impacts positive and negative impacts on students educational development and their future development such as physical, moral, Socioeconomic status , Parental involvement and Peer influences .In this study objectives were to investigate (1).Identifying strategies to create a conducive learning environment (3) Developing interventions to mitigate negative environmental impacts (4) Raising awareness about the importance of environmental factors in education hypotheses and research questions were designed for the purpose of testing and answering through the collected empirical data from the sample group and these objectives testified by hypotheses. The population of the study included all the govt high school from which the researcher selected 500 respondents through stratified random sampling techniques. The design selected for the study was survey. The researcher designed research instruments for data collection from the respondents of the study, one was a Likert scale questionnaire
School recess is an evidence-backed approach to increase school-based opportunities for students to play, accrue necessary physical activity, and socialize with peers, to the benefit of their physical, academic, and socioemotional health. As such, the Centers for Disease Control recommend at least 20 min of daily recess in elementary schools. However, unequal provision of recess contributes to persistent health and academic disparities for students, which remain to be addressed. We analyzed data from the 2021-22 school year from a sample of low-income (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education-eligible) elementary schools (n = 153) across California. Just 56 % of schools reported providing more than 20 min of recess daily. Differences in daily recess provision were apparent, with students in larger and lower-income schools receiving less daily recess than students in smaller and higher income schools. These findings support the enactment of legislation mandating health-sufficient daily recess in California elementary schools. They also highlight the importance of, and need for, annually-collected data sources to enable monitoring of recess provision, and potential disparities, over time, in order to assist in identifying additional interventions to address this public health problem.
Background: Recess provides an important opportunity for children to be physically active during weekdays. Updated, nationally representative, prevalence estimates of elementary school recess practices in the United States are needed. Methods: Surveys were sent to a nationally representative sample of 1010 public elementary schools in the 2019-2020 school year. Results were compared by region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West), urbanicity, size, racial and ethnic composition, and socioeconomic status (percent eligible for free/reduced-priced meals). Results: A total of 559 responses were obtained. About 87.9% of schools provided at least 20 minutes of daily recess and 26.6% had trained recess supervisors. Most schools did not allow students to voluntarily stay inside during recess (71.6%) and around half prohibited withholding recess for poor behavior (45.6%) or to complete schoolwork (49.5%). Several practices varied by region, and withholding recess was more prevalent among schools with lower student socioeconomic makeup. Implications for school health policy, practice, and equity: Regular national surveillance of recess practices can inform policy needs and efforts to advance equitable access to recess. Quality and access should be considered when developing recess policies. Conclusions: Most United States elementary schools provide recess. However, regional and economic disparities exist. Promoting supportive practices for recess, particularly for schools serving lower-income communities, is necessary.
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The authors suggest that the recess period serves a positive purpose in the primary school curriculum, counter to the current practice of minimizing recess in many schools across North America and the United Kingdom. The authors' position is embedded in the larger debate about school accountability; they argue that school policy should be based on the best theory and empirical evidence available. They support their argument for the importance of recess with theory and with experimental and longitudinal data showing how recess breaks maximize children's cognitive performance and adjustment to school.
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Three field experiments were conducted to determine the effects of different recess timing regimens on children’s classroom and recess behaviors. Experiment 1 involved children in Grades K, 2, and 4. The timing of their recess was experimentally varied by 30 minutes. Students’ classroom behavior before and after recess was observed as was their outdoor recess behavior. Children’s prerecess inattention varied as a function of deprivation duration. Further, children, but especially boys, were more socially interactive on the playground following the long deprivation, compared to the short deprivation. Recess behaviors did not relate significantly to postrecess inattention. However, inattention rates were higher before recess than after. Experiment 2 utilized a similar paradigm with a sample of second and fourth graders from the same school. Experiment 2, generally, replicated results from Experiment 1. In Experiment 3, which utilized a replication sample design, children s recess was also manipulated, but the recess period was indoors. Results of the two samples replicated each other and the preceding experiments. Results are discussed in terms of play deprivation theory and massed versus distributed practice.
Context The prevalence of overweight among children in the United States increased between 1976-1980 and 1988-1994, but estimates for the current decade are unknown. Objective To determine the prevalence of overweight in US children using the most recent national data with measured weights and heights and to examine trends in overweight prevalence. Design, Setting, and Participants Survey of 4722 children from birth through 19 years of age with weight and height measurements obtained in 1999-2000 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a cross-sectional, stratified, multistage probability sample of the US population. Main Outcome Measure Prevalence of overweight among US children by sex, age group, and race/ethnicity. Overweight among those aged 2 through 19 years was defined as at or above the 95th percentile of the sex-specific body mass index (BMI) for age growth charts. Results The prevalence of overweight was 15.5% among 12- through 19-year-olds, 15.3% among 6- through 11-year-olds, and 10.4% among 2- through 5-year-olds, compared with 10.5%, 11.3%, and 7.2%, respectively, in 1988-1994 (NHANES III). The prevalence of overweight among non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American adolescents increased more than 10 percentage points between 1988-1994 and 1999-2000. Conclusion The prevalence of overweight among children in the United States is continuing to increase, especially among Mexican-American and non-Hispanic black adolescents.
SACRAMENTO — Thousands of schools across the nation are responding to the reading and math testing requirements laid out in No Child Left Behind, President Bush's signature education law, by reducing class time spent on other subjects and, for some low-proficiency students, eliminating it. Schools from Vermont to California are increasing — in some cases tripling — the class time that low-proficiency students spend on reading and math, mainly because the federal law, signed in 2002, requires annual exams only in those subjects and punishes schools that fall short of rising benchmarks. The changes appear to principally affect schools and students who test below grade level. The intense focus on the two basic skills is a sea change in American instructional practice, with many schools that once offered rich curriculums now systematically trimming courses like social studies, science and art. A nationwide survey by a nonpartisan group that is to be made public on March 28 indicates that the practice, known as narrowing the curriculum, has become standard procedure in many communities. The survey, by the Center on Education Policy, found that since the passage of the federal law, 71 percent of the nation's 15,000 school districts had reduced the hours of instructional time spent on history, music and other subjects to open up more time for reading and math. The center is an independent group that has made a thorough study of the new act and has published a detailed yearly report on the implementation of the law in dozens of districts. "Narrowing the curriculum has clearly become a nationwide pattern," said Jack Jennings, the president of the center, which is based in Washington.
In this article the empirical research on the role of school recess is reviewed. Recess is first defined, and then the effects of child-level variables (e.g., gender, age, and temperament) and school-level variables (e.g., recess timing and duration) on children’s recess behavior are reviewed. The implications of recess are discussed in terms of impact on classroom behavior and on measures of social and cognitive competence. It is concluded that recess has important educational and developmental implications. Further research in this area is urgently needed, and some promising areas of inquiry are suggested.
The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of a recess break on classroom behavior, specifically working, fidgeting, and listlessness. A southern urban school district with a policy against recess granted permission for 2 Grade 4 classes to have recess once a week so that subsequent behavior on recess and nonrecess days could be compared. A multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures and subsequent analyses of variance indicated that the 43 children, who were used as their own controls, differed on recess and nonrecess days, becoming more on task and less fidgety when they had recess. Sixty percent of the children, including all 5 of those with attention deficit disorder, and a balance of boys and girls benefited considerably. They worked more or fidgeted less (or both) on recess days.
Based upon the principle that all children have a right to play and to experience the benefits of recess, this book assists elementary school teachers and parents in offering children in preschool through Grade 6 appropriate recess games and activities and provides a variety of readings that support the need for recess activities. The book is organized in five parts discussing elementary school recess and the childs intellectual growth, social growth, physical growth, a global perspective, and the historical significance of classic recess games. The articles are: (1) "Recess: A Time To Learn, A Time To Grow" (Marcy Guddemi); (2) "Recess: A Curriculum Necessity" (Tom Jambor); (3) "What Research Says about the Need for Recess" (Olga Jarrett and Darlene Maxwell); (4) "Language and Play on the School Yard" (Rose Winkler); (5) "Observing Children during Recess" (Jill Fox); (6) "Recess and Learning in Moscow" (Linda Davey); (7) "The Social Value of Recess" (Lori Friedman); (8) "Rough and Tumble Play during Recess: Pathways to Successful Social Development" (Tom Reed); (9) "Imaginative Play and Recess" (Elizabeth Rike and Anne Krueger); (10) "A Look at the Peaceful Playground Program" (Karen Robertson and Melinda Bossenmeyer); (11) "Recess: A Provider of Outdoor Interactions" (Sunny Davidson); (12) "Child-Designed Games for Recess" (Deborah Coffin); (13) "Art and Recess" (Barbara Michaels); (14) "Motor Skill Development on the Playground" (Joanne Dusel); (15) "Exercise and Recess" (Lee Spieker); (16) "Recess: A Foundation to More Complex Movement" (Robert Battista); (17) "Recess from a Physical Educators Perspective" (J. Walter Lisk); (18) Developing an Elementary School Playground Safety Support System" (Tom Jambor); (19) "Recess: Opportunities for Motor Skill Development" (Nancy Halliday); (20) "Recess and Outdoor Experiences" (Margot Brous); (21) "An Historical Trend To Eliminate Recess" (Audrey Skrupskelis); (22) "A Parents Struggle To Reinstate Recess" (Nanette Montgomery); (23) "Recess: Every Childs Right" (Susan Mason); (24) "Recess: A Childs Freedom" (Mary Asgari); (25)"Childrens Recess in Cyprus" (Phoebe Constantinou); (26) "Play and Recess Environments in India" (Jimi Jolley); (27) "Russian Language Games for Indoor Recess" (Tatiana Gordon); (28) "Considerations for Creative Play Spaces" (Georgianna Duarte); (29) "Why Is Supervision So Important at Recess?" (Donna Thompson, Susan Hudson, and Mick Mack); (30) "The North Shore School District Recess Study" (Rhonda Clements); (31) "Early Years Are Learning Years: The Value of School Recess and Outdoor Play [Position Statement]" (NAEYC); and (32) "A Selection of Classic Recess Games and Their Historical Significance" (Rhonda Clements). Contains 135 references. (KB)
This policy guide reflects the concerns and priorities of education policymakers and administrators, addressing broad policy issues and focusing on physical activity, healthy eating, and tobacco use prevention. Section 1, "Overview," reviews the issue and presents sample policies. Section 2, "The Art of Policymaking," discusses what policy is, the policy development process, who's who in education policymaking, and enlisting public support. Section 3, "General School Health Policies," discusses a vision for school health, the coordinated school health program, administration and evaluation, health education, and a well-prepared staff. Section 4, "Policies To Encourage Physical Activity," includes purpose and goals, physical education, extracurricular physical activity programs, other opportunities for physical activity, and safety guidelines. Section 5, "Policies To Encourage Healthy Eating," offers purpose and goals, nutrition education, the Food Service Program, other food choices at school, and services for nutrition related health problems. Section 6, "Policies To Discourage Tobacco Use," includes purpose and goals, tobacco-free environments, tobacco-use prevention education, and assistance to overcome tobacco addiction. (Sections contain references.) (SM)