‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy - really’

January 28th, 2009 - 11:23 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 28 (IANS) There might be something after all in the old saying that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, if the latest research is to be believed.The outcome of the study, conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of the New York-based Yeshiva University, said that school children who receive more recess behave better and are likely to learn more.

The study, led by Romina M. Barros, assistant clinical professor of paediatrics at the college, suggests that a daily break of 15 minutes or more at school may play a role in improving learning, social development and health in elementary school children.

Barros looked at data on approximately 11,000 third-graders enrolled in the national Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. The children, aged eight to nine, were divided into two categories: those with no or minimal recess (less than 15 minutes a day) and those with more than 15 minutes a day.

There were an equal number of boys and girls. The children’s classroom behaviour was assessed by their teachers using a questionnaire.

According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, free, unstructured play is essential for keeping children healthy, and for helping them reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones. Unstructured play also helps kids manage stress and become resilient, the college said in a release.

However, some studies indicate that children are getting less and less unstructured playtime, a trend exacerbated by the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.

“Many schools responded to No Child Left Behind by reducing the time for recess, the creative arts, and physical education in an effort to focus on reading and mathematics,” said Barros.

These findings were published in the journal Paediatrics.

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