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Recess improves elementary academic success

Posted Date: 08/26/2019

Recess improves elementary academic success

COPPERAS COVE, TX (August 20, 2019)—Frisbees, basketballs, jump ropes, hula hoops, and other playground equipment awaited students at Martin Walker Elementary as they were released outside for recess on the first day of school. 

About 11 percent of states and 57 percent of districts require elementary schools to provide students with regularly scheduled recess, a study by the Centers for Disease Control in 2006 shows. This is up from 4 percent of states and 46 percent of districts in 2000. Although not mandated, 79 percent of elementary schools in the CDC survey said they provided daily recess. In 2000, it was 71 percent. Texas state law requires a certain amount of physical education for students, around 135 minutes a week, but it doesn’t include language about recess time. Copperas Cove ISD pre-K and elementary schools set aside time daily for student recess in addition to physical education classes. CCISD junior high schools implemented mental breaks for students during the day last year and high school students are able to take a break following their lunch periods or in between classes based on the schedules they have chosen.

Teacher Catherine Sharbeno said the equipment has been a wonderful addition to recess time. 

“Students are interacting with each other in a positive way and really enjoying being around one another during that time,” Sharbeno said. 

Through the equipment, students learn to interact with other students, often bonding over games and developing long lasting friendships. The equipment was purchased with budgeted funds at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Student Hameeda Honor’s favorite equipment required a group of friends to play, teaching the students to be cordial, work well in groups, develop social skills, and develop qualities like leadership and cooperation.

“My friends and I like to play jump rope,” Honor said.

Studies show that exercises such as running, jumping, skipping and playing ball games not only strengthen children’s muscles, but they can also help with gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and overall health and well-being.   

Teachers find that students are less fidgety and more focused following recess and mental breaks from the rigorous classroom lessons. They listen more attentively, follow directions and

try to solve problems on their own instead of coming to the teacher to fix everything. There are fewer discipline issues.



A 2010 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found positive associations between recess and academic performance.

  • Fewer discipline issues in class
  • Improved student focus
  • Unique socialization opportunities
  • Increased energy and activity levels throughout the day
  • Enhanced brainpower from sunlight, outdoor exposure, and blood flow to the brain



Contact Information

Copperas Cove Independent School District
408 S. Main Street
COPPERAS COVE, Texas 76522
Phone: 254-547-1227