Recess is important for learning

I applaud The Sun's coverage of the work being done by Dr. Maria Brown and other child advocates ("Pediatrician has prescription to fight obesity," Oct. 7). The challenge Dr. Brown presents, that "If this is going to succeed ... all members of the community are going to have to pull together," is right on the money. That everyone should include our schools, and currently, that's not the case for many Baltimore County public school students.

In fact, even though studies are coming out now that show that physically fit children actually perform better on standardized tests, recess time for kids has been cut in many public schools. Schools still use withholding of recess as a punishment for kids who behave poorly. Recess time should be protected in schools, not withheld as punishment. Pediatric literature and most medical organizations advocate for the protection of recess time and an increase in physical education to improve child fitness and promote academic success. Schools should embrace the medical research; recess makes learning easier.

I hope that articles like the one about Dr. Brown's work, as well as The Sun's coverage of "Ravens helping Carroll students get fit" (October 9) will light a fire under parents, educators and decision-makers at the Maryland State Department of Education to make recess and physical education a priority again.

Cleo Manuel Stamatos, Baltimore

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