Letters to the Editor 2019

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To the Editor: 

My name is Ryan. I am a third grader at Dennis Township Elementary School. I am writing to you about a topic I feel strongly about. I believe that students should have more recess time. I have several reasons for this: Recess is beneficial for our physical health, it helps our mental health, and increased recess time is positively correlated to improved educational outcomes. 

First of all, additional recess time would benefit us physically. Experts say children should get at least 60 minutes of recess each day. Much of our time is spent in school; therefore, it seems logical to get most of this recommended time for exercise during the school day.  

Also, having more exercise can help lower rates of obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity affects almost 15 million children. Between all the junk food marketed to children and society’s increasingly technology-based lifestyle, obesity has become a major problem. More time for recess could help.  

The World Health Organization says that nearly two-thirds of children do not get enough exercise and that can have serious implications for their future health.  

Furthermore, a longer recess time would help with our mental health, as well. According to the American Psychological Association, children’s mental health is “in crisis.” A study published in the Journal of School Health found that recess helps children regulate their emotions and supports their healthy development.  

By having more time to socialize and play together, we will be better able to cope with arguments with friends. This is especially important after the difficult years we have had.  

Covid kept us isolated during some of the most critical developmental years, and now more than ever it is important to learn to manage our emotions and establish positive relationships with peers.  

Recess is an opportunity to have fun and build friendships. An article in The New York Times states that school recess improves behaviors. More recess for kids results in better behavior for teachers, so, really, it’s a win-win! 

I know that some people think that students need more time in academic areas, but research shows that increased recess time actually improves educational outcomes like grades and standardized test scores (which principals absolutely ADORE). 

Here in Dennis Township schools, our recess period is just 20 minutes. Unfortunately, this is below the national average.  

To learn more about the benefits of recess, go to npr.org and listen to the podcast “Back-to-School: Recess 101.” I think you will agree that recess is essential to student development, better behaviors, and strengthened peer relationships. 

 - Ryan Morales, Ocean View

ED. NOTE: The above letter was submitted by the author’s teacher, Alison Curvan, who stated, “This is a letter written by one of my third-grade students, Ryan Morales. We have been working on persuasive writing, and this is a topic she spent a lot of time researching. I have her parents' permission to submit it. 



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