Hooray for Christine Woodside's Dec. 8 op-ed piece, "Bring Back Recess."

When my husband and I attended a kindergarten fair in Alexandria a few years ago, we asked representatives from several schools how long their recess was. The most common answer: 15 to 20 minutes. Several representatives told us that quite a few parents thought that was too long.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, we had a class period of 40 minutes for recess. Children haven't changed since then -- adult expectations have.

Quickly, everybody: What did you enjoy more in elementary school? Classes or recess?

Have all the grownups forgotten the thrill of taking a break outside, running around and screaming at the top of their lungs? For shame.




Not only are students without recess denied the chance to let off steam, they do not develop some of the skills employers need.

Several years ago, as a supervisor in a store, I was training a new employee who apologized profusely but admitted she had not remembered my instructions concerning a procedure. As I showed her again, I joked, "You must have had trouble with 'Simon says' in kindergarten."

She looked puzzled. She had never heard of "Simon Says," "Mother, May I" or any of the other games I had played in elementary school that involved listening for a code word or remembering a string of directions. In the early grades, including kindergarten, she and her classmates had had to stay at their desks and concentrate on paperwork so they could pass the standardized tests.


Englewood, Ohio