We are facing a National Mental Health Crisis. Alabama schools chronically rank in the lowest performing schools nationwide. Still, according to AL PTA's 2019 survey, about 1/3 of Alabama's kindergarten through 5th grade students are not allowed daily recess. It is time for Alabama to implement this common sense, no-cost, research-proven intervention for improving cognitive performance and mental health: RECESS.
Look below to find out what Alabama parents and teachers are saying about recess in our Alabama PTA Recess Survey Results, see what types of recess legislation other states are drafting, or just browse the research and news articles on the benefits of recess.
And don't forget to register as a Recess Hero so that you'll receive action items and updates on the state of recess in Alabama!
First Step Acheived!
Alabama's Course of Study for Physical Education, adopted in 2019, includes language stating that "It is considered best practice for all students to receive a minimum of 20 minutes of daily, unstructured activity time."
Alabama PTA and our partner organization, Alabama Families for Recess, played a crucial role in advocating for inclusion of this statement and the additional recess recommendations which can be found in this current edition. While the course of study shares the benefits of recess and emphasizes that recess cannot replace P.E., it stops short of requiring implementation of daily recess.
We must demand that our legislators pass a bill requiring a minimum of 20 minutes daily free-play recess.
Remind elected officials that continued learning takes place on the playground.
In our "Recess Laws" section below you can find a few examples of current recess legislation around the country. The overwhelming demands of legislated seat minutes often prevent teachers and administrators from affording the luxury of recess. In reality, recess is a vital part of a successful school day. Many states have found legislative answers to address this problem.
What You Can Do Right Now:
Print and share the Alabama PTA Recess White Page, one of the policies, or resolutions available below with your child's classroom teacher and principal.
Contact your elected officials and let them know that Alabama families want the no-cost & research-proven intervention of daily recess implemented to
Improve Student Mental Health
Improve Academic Performance
Improve Classroom Behavior
Reduce Lunch Food Waste
Post recess information on your local unit's social media and other communications.
Conduct a "Play In" at a local playground, sharing information and collecting signatures of supporters.
For more ideas check out captions in our "Getting Started" gallery below.
At least 20 minutes daily, supervised, unstructured free-play for children preK-5th.
Free-play recess may not be withheld for academic or punitive reasons.
Recess shall not be a substitute for daily P.E.
your child's brain
Alabama PTA Recess Documents
Research & News Articles
"Strategies for Recess in Schools," CDC, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
"The Crucial Roll of Recess in Schools," Journal of School Health
"Withholding Recess as Discipline in Decline," Education Week
Curriculum guidelines in most states recommend recess, but the recommendation is overridden by more explicit mandates about instructional time.
To back up recess recommendations, many states have drafted legislation to assure recess for all elementary students.
The links provided include examples of legislative action.
Click through the photos for suggestions. Please share YOUR ideas in the Recess Hero form!
Join the PTA
Advocacy is encouraged by your Alabama PTA President, Donna Russell. Flip through these photos for some suggestions about building your recess coalition.
ENGAGE THE COMMUNITY
Parents set up an information table at their local Art Walk to grow our recess advocacy network, collecting names, emails, and county of residence.
CONTACT YOUR SCHOOL BOARD
Parents attended a parade, took photos, and provided information on how to contact local school board members, including the superintendent.
HOST A PLAY IN
Parents met at parks to hold "Play Ins" where they shared research and collected signatures for a local petition.
POST ON FACEBOOK
Use social media to let everyone know that all elementary school children need DAILY recess.
SHARE ON INSTAGRAM
Let your friends & neighbors know that your children need DAILY recess! Many are surprised to learn that a lot of children don't have recess.
TALK TO PEOPLE
Ask the organizers of local events if you can set up a table.
ANNOUNCE IN NEWSLETTERS
Let your local units know that Alabama PTA encourages you to advocate for DAILY recess.
Mobile parents meet to plan their advocacy strategy. (Clockwise from bottom right: Laurie Dungan, Kern Jackson, Daryn Glassbrook, Adam Prince, Lisa Roddy, Stephanie Jackson)