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Catholic school in Kenmore implements mandatory recess

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

With children spending more time on computer and mobile devices and less time playing, a Kenmore school now has mandatory recess.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley reports students at St. John the Baptist School are loving the free time to play.  

For 15-minutes each school day students in Kindergarten through 5th have a mandatory recess break. 

Students gather on the front lawn of their school and, in some ways, it's like going back in time, watching the children interact and play old fashion games of freeze tag. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Second graders on their recess break.

“Our favorite game is playing cops and robbers,” said one second grade student.  

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
St. John the Baptist students in Kenmore play at recess.

Second graders were enjoying their 15-minute recess break on the front lawn of their school and are thrilled that recess is mandatory.

“And I love doing recess because it’s a lot of fun,” a St. John student declared. 

With so much focus on academics, school leadership felt students need to have some playtime activity.  

Vice Principal Linda Spillman Garrity said they decided it's important for children to have time to move around freely.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
St. John the Baptist students in Kenmore play at recess.

“Kids could still sit out if they want to, but it’s just more for the mindset of the school.  That all the teachers will get out every day as part of their routine, and it’s great that we see kids playing traditional like tag and hopscotch and the hand games – just running out and having some freedom with energy,” Garrity described.    

The school worked the recess into the daily class schedule.

Second grade teacher Ashley Dikeman watched her students run freely.      

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Second grade teacher Ashley Dikeman with her students.

“And there’s so much research to show with green breaks and things that are really beneficial for students, and so I think it’s a great idea and I like it. Something to look forward to, in sense, and then when we get back, they know it’s back to work,” noted Dikeman. 

And just as the second graders completed their break, 4th graders arrived on the lawn for their playtime. 

“It’s really fun. It makes me sweat and I wish we could have this every single day, even Saturday’s and Sunday’s,” said a 4th grade girl.

The recess will continue into the winter and spring months and when weather prevents students from being outside, there will be recess inside the school.   

“We’ll use our good judgment, in terms of its too cold or rainy or whatever, then we will take the recess indoors and there’s lots of fun things to do inside as well,” Garrity explained.

“We love recess,” shouted St. John students. 

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