Georgia law makes recess mandatory for K-5 students

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:40 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - This year will be the first year Georgia is mandating recess for all elementary students in public schools.

In the new law, recess can’t be taken away for disciplinary reasons either.

Only 10 states have mandatory recess laws for elementary schools. South Carolina is not one of them.

The CDC says recess helps with stress, better behavior, and prevents obesity for kids.

We checked in with local experts to see what they have to say about letting kids play.

“Kids need a break. They need to be outside,” said Associate Professor of Child Psychology Dr. Dale Peeples.

Under the new Georgia law, kids from kindergarten to 5th grade will be required to have unstructured break time every day. Peeples says recess can often be undervalued in school.

“Kids can’t keep their concentration just on a book for eight hours a day,” he said.

Many classrooms may have relaxed restrictions compared to two years ago.

“One of the big losses for children was the ability to socialize, and recess does give kids a chance to be with their peers. Talking with kids during the pandemic, a lot of what they missed was their friends,” said Peeples.

Doctors say being outside can be an outlet for emotions and ease their anxiety.

“You’re going to see better sleep at night, cardio health and weight control, better concentration and focus in the classroom,” he said. “Play allows kids to use their imagination to be creative.”

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