A few weeks ago, we posted the blog: “RCSD Bans Withholding Recess as a Form of Punishment” highlighting recent changes to the RCSD’s discipline guidelines in the Student Behavior Resource Manual. Armed with parent input and national research and best practice Healthi Kids was able to successfully protect recess and ensure that it won’t be taken away as a form of punishment from kids.  

As we share our success of protecting recess with parents across the district, we continue to hear many stories of why this is important to families. Many parents feel that recess is an important part of their kids day and needs to be protected.

It’s no surprise that parents recognize that recess is necessary. Research shows us that daily recess supports the social, emotional and physical health of a child.[1]-[2] In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that recess is an essential part of the day by giving kids time to rest, play, imagine, think, move and socialize.[3]

In response to all of our feedback on the new discipline guidelines - Healthi Kids has a special guest-blog post this month. Our post is by Marcia a parent of three daughters in the Rochester City School District. Her daughters attend the School of the Arts, School 12, and Wilson High.

After learning about recent changes to the Rochester City School District Student Behavior Resource Manual and the district’s move to ban recess being taken away as a form of punishment, she was thrilled. After speaking with our parent engagement coordinator, Erick Stephens, Marcia wanted to share why she felt the new guidelines and recess are important to her and her children.

Thank you Marcia for being a parent champion for kids across the district!

Recess is important: Let kids get their silliness out!

Post by: Marcia RCSD Parent

The biggest reason recess is important is that it lets kids get out their silliness. Letting kids go out and play gives them a break away from the classroom. It helps their brains to get out and have a break. Afterwards, they do better in school and are able to concentrate better. I feel taking away recess does more damage than good. If the kids go out and play for 20 minutes they come back more productive. The exercise that comes from recess every day is important. Even research shows that daily recess keeps my girls healthy, active, and at the end of the day - better at school.

I like the new discipline guidelines because many of the kids in the district just don’t have the freedom to just be kids anymore. They go from school where they have tests all day to having to go home and babysit their siblings because parents are working. It’s not like when we were kids. They don’t have that option to just have a time out and be a kid. It’s important for kids to have that opportunity for recess and play to have a break, run around, and have fun.

I understand that teacher’s only have so many options. Now that suspensions are being removed as a discipline option, there’s only so many ways now they have to correct misbehavior. But taking away recess is taking away the one thing that kids like. I like the new discipline guidelines because it forces teachers to think about other methods to discipline children. The district should provide support to the children, teachers, and administration to make sure that kids can still get recess every day.


[1] US Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. http://www.health.gov/paguidelines. October 17, 2008

[2] Clements, R. (2004). An investigation of the status of outdoor play. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. 5(1). Online.http://www.allianceforchildhood.org.uk/uploads/media/7_Clements_CIEC_5_1_web.pdf2.pdf

[3] American Academy of Pediatrics (2013). Policy statement: The crucial role of recess in school. The American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health.