Rescuing Recess

Rescuing Recess
By: Wes Wallace
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Ask most kids about their favorite part of the school day and they'll probably tell you recess.
With growing statistics on childhood obesity, there's a new push to spend more time on the playground.
You know about the three R's...reading, writing, arithmetic.  Now there's a fourth R...recess.
As more schools get away from spending time to play, there's at least one Heartland school that's not.
It's all part of an expanded effort to help kids stay active and healthy.
"We do feel it's important for the kids to be fit.  We also think it's important to have recess time to socialize," said Ruth Ann Orr, the principal at Alma Schrader Elementary.
"It helps you get better at exercise and a better athlete," said Brynna Bockhorst, a student at Alma Schrader. 
Even on a rainy day, kids at Alma Schrader stay active despite not being out on the playground.
"Some of the kids requrie that time to work off energy and they can't concentrate without having that physical activity," Orr said. 
That's why students and staff take part in the national rescue recess effort.
The lower grades get two, sometimes three recess breaks.  Every child has at least 80 minutes of PE time a week.
"I like it when we get to go outside and sometimes play kickball and soccer," Brynna said.
Plus there's newly installed playground equipment, proof of a conscious effort to increase physical activity.
"The rockwall, sometimes it's busy, but it helps work your upper arm.  The bongos are fun to play with too," Brynna said.
"We tried to get some things that would be appropriate for some of our students with disabilities.  So they're accessible to our kids with disabilities," Orr said.
It's national recess week.  Reseachers say fresh air and phyiscal activity helps kids do better on their school work.