Saturday, January 25, 2003

Remembering recess

"Is Recess a Necessity or a Hindrance?" asks an article on the Bella Online site. When I was a kid, I'd have voted for hindrance, because I deeply hated anything that required physical coordination or exertion. Ladder bars were torture, games of catch invitations to display my klutziness before my disdainful peers, dodgeball resolutely un-dodgeable. I tried to just sit off to the side and read a book during recess, but teachers would push me back into the fray. Abolishment of recess? A dream come true for me, it would have been.

Maybe I lived too soon, because according to some reports, things like recess and physical education in primary grades are in danger of disappearing. They're still hanging in at our local elementary school, though, and my kids would undoubtedly vote recess a necessity. My daughter's coordinated in ways I could never dream of being, and she enjoys playing outside at any opportunity (reading books, not so much). And my son, hyper fellow that he is, needs a little time to let off steam in the middle of the day. The cruel irony of life in a northern climate is that, come winter, you may lose recess even if you still have it; sub-freezing weather, rain and snow all mean indoor confinement whether you find recess necessary or hindering or whatever. I'm hearing reports of movies and board games and moderate chaos for those 20-or-so midday minutes, which are mildly annoying for my girl and mildly disorganizing for my boy. They'll be glad when recess returns with the spring. And I'll be glad it's them, not me.

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