7:00 AM EDT, September 29, 2011
In response to your article "Roland Park parents say it's all work, no play for kids" (Sept. 24), we applaud the efforts of these parents and support their commitment to provide recess for students in grades 6-8. Recess and free play are as important to the learning process as being in the classroom and doing homework.
The latest research shows that the brain, like a muscle, needs time to relax, absorb and process in order for information to register in long-term memory. All students, regardless of age, require breaks in instruction to maximize learning.
Middle school students, in particular, need opportunities to exercise their physical, emotional and cognitive skills in unstructured environments in order to develop independent social competence. Social interaction with peers fosters valuable problem-solving skills and enhances creative thinking.
Students perform better in school, both socially and academically, when we create and prioritize even brief opportunities for them take breaks. It is our sincere hope that the parents and administration at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School will place the needs of students foremost and find creative solutions that incorporate recess as a vital learning tool.
Ben Shifrin and Emily Stanley, Owings Mills
The writers are head of school and lower and middle school science department chairwoman of Jemicy School.
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