Following a comprehensive review of recess practices and input from the community and employees, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) has announced a substantial increase in recess time for full-day kindergarten and first through fifth grades beginning next year.
Recess for full-day kindergarten will go from 20 to 40 minutes day, a 100% increase. The change calls for 15 minutes to happen before or after physical education (PE), and 25 minutes elsewhere in the instructional day, away from the regular PE time.
For first through fifth grades, recess will increase from 20 to 30 minutes. Fifteen minutes will take place before or after PE and 15 minutes will occur during the instructional day, away from the regular PE time.
With the increase in time dedicated to recess, combined with PE classes, VBCPS will be the only division in the area providing elementary school students with an average 65 minutes per day of active movement, or 325 minutes per week. This is twice the active-movement time recommended by the state of Virginia.
“We are so pleased that our youngest learners will have more time for self-directed activity,” said Dr. Nicole DeVries, director of K-12 and gifted programs. “These are golden opportunities for students to develop social skills and improve overall physical fitness.”
These changes represent the result of months of work by the Elementary Recess Committee, a group of parents, teachers, principals and counselors, which reviewed research from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and considered input from VBCPS employees and families before making these recommendations to senior staff.
Teachers will be working with administrators over the summer to develop schedules and implementation guidelines.