How do elementary school students occupy their time at recess? There are many options during this time…chitchatting with friends, playing handball with a group of peers, playing tag with friends and playing on the climbing equipment are just a few of the many options. For children with social deficits or concerns, this time of the day is often the most challenging and the most unproductive. And an added deficit in learning sport type activities only adds to the difficulty of this time.
The co-founders of “Break it Down” Total Sports have witnessed too many children be unsuccessful during most children’s favorite part of the day. Due to this lack of success during their recess time, these children can often become uninterested, extremely withdrawn and even rejected. In our work with our students, we have experienced the benefits of them learning the foundation skills of some of the most popular playground activities. This can be fundamental in increasing children’s enjoyment during this time of the day. Learning these skills open these children up for increased social opportunities throughout the school day and reduce problematic behavior during these less structured times of the day by providing some structure and more appropriate replacement skills. Often, we have seen that with increased skill and understanding of common playground games and sports, motivation to participate in these activities greatly increases as well! Although often an overlooked area in the education of children with special needs, the importance of making recess a fundamental teaching time cannot be disregarded.
See below for some links that discuss the importance of recess and the challenges it poses for children with special needs:
NAEYC – On Our Minds (PDF)
Friendship Circle – 7 Solutions for Recess With Your Special Needs Child
Different Dream – Recess Strategies