Recess isn't just for fun, according to a new study, which has found that cutting back on playtime is harming schoolchildren. The loss of a 15-minute daily recess tended to make 8- and 9-year-old students unruly and deprived them of an opportunity to exercise and socialize, reports Reuters. The study attributed recess cutbacks to the federal No Child Left Behind program, which has pressured schools to crank up academics.
Recess tends to be even more critical for students from disadvantaged backgrounds because violence in their neighborhoods limits their chances to safely play outdoors at home as well as at school, researchers noted. "Recess may play an important role in the learning, social development, and health of children in elementary school," the research team concluded.