The Importance of Recess Time

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Kidz Newz #173 – 12 April 2019

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The Importance of Recess Time

We all know that our brains can’t concentrate for long periods of time at a stretch and that frequent breaks are, therefore, necessary. For children, this is even more so. I was reading an interesting article published in Return to Now ( titled Texas School Beats ADHD by Tripling Recess Time. The study was conducted with kindergarten and first graders. What they discovered was amazing.

‘Instead of 20 minutes of recess per day, Eagle Mountain Elementary Kindergartners and first graders now get an hour, broken up into four 15-minute breaks, in addition to lunch time. Their teachers say it’s totally transformed them. The kids are less fidgety, less distracted, more engaged in learning and make more eye contact.’

I was not surprised to learn this study was based on a similar pilot in Finland (of course) where the children have 15 minutes of unstructured play after every 45 minutes of instruction. The designer of the American program, called LiiNK, is kinesiologist Debbie Rhea from Texas Christian University. She said that while indoor play was better than nothing, outdoors is better. ‘Fresh air, natural light and vivid colours all have a big impact on brain function.’

Naturally the teachers were concerned about the children’s academic development given the lack of class time but were astounded to find that the kids ‘were way ahead of schedule’.

‘If you want a child to be attentive and stay on task – if you want them to encode the information you’re giving them in their memory – you’ve got to give them regular breaks.’  So says paediatrician Bob Murray, from Ohio State University, who helped write the American Paediatrics Association’s policy statement on recess.  He says, ‘brain scans have shown kids learn better after a break for physical activity and unstructured play.’

I don’t think any of this is new apart from the length of time of those ‘play breaks’. Who would have thought? Just when you think you don’t have time to get through all that you have to get through in a day, now you have less time to do it in. According to this research, perhaps a lot of what we do is not all that necessary after all? What do you think? Food for thought over the Easter break.


Music Market Day Perth

For those of you in the music community, this will not be news. For others, please be aware that a group of us is getting together in May (18th or 25th) at SIM (School of Instrumental Music) in Maylands. On hand will be items for sale at considerable discount, proceeds of which will go to Telethon. Some pre-loved music teaching resources wanting a good home will also be available for a donation to Telethon. The precise date and details will be announced in the next newsletter. I’m just giving you advanced warning for those in or near the Perth area looking to expand their resources.

Early Childhood Education State Conference

Please diarise Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd June for this conference which I will be presenting at on the Friday. My session will be on the importance of movement and of course I will do my activities to music. Please come along if you can and say hello. For further details Click Here.

Quotes of the Week

View every risk as an opportunity, as this is the first required step towards success. 
Shelley Taylor-Smith 

It’s not the change that matters, but how you react to the change that will count for or against you.
Author – Ben Thorpe 

Why not go out on a limb?  Isn’t that where the fruit is?
Frank Scully  


GESS Indonesia 2017

What was the most useful thing you learned today?

I learnt more about fun activity for preschool.
Simple tools can be easily used effectively.
Various activities for kids.
Lots of simple properties can be used for teaching different activities.
Lots of creativity can be learnt with music.
Scarf games.
Teaching English through music for children.
Children would remember the words more effectively by doing the actions to music.
New songs to teach new vocabulary.
The music is a simple method for learning English.
Children can learn through music in a very fun way.
Simple songs with movement for children.
Teaching English is easier using music.
To use music as a listening tool for the children to listen without being told to listen.
Using tapping sticks for music and movement which could develop the children’s gross motor skills, musical sense and concentration.
We can use music as a medium to teach physical (motor) skills, language including vocabulary etc.
I got new ideas for using music learn English.
The English [words in song] – sit down, stand up, walk, run, hands up, fly, lay down. (3 people)
English words, how to teach language to children.


From the tail end of an article on laughter in The Independent, Dec 14th:

Laugh and the world can’t help laughing with you, study says
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Children laugh about 400 times a day; adults just 14. 
Laughter protects the heart and reduces blood pressure.
An occasional chuckle increases tolerance of pain, reduces allergic reactions and bolsters the immune system.
A belly-laugh brings a rush of endorphins, the body’s natural opiates, similar to that triggered by brisk exercise.

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at conferences. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892 Australia
T: +61 8 9355 4890 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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