There are many benefits and pitfalls associated with elementary school recess. The playground is no longer simply a place to play and socialize. It can be a place for bullies to carry out their wicked ways and a place where the quieter children, or those who seem different are picked on.
It can also be a place where drugs are taken, which is a horrifying prospect for parents whose main foolish activity as schoolchildren was probably sharing an ordinary cigarette with friends behind the bicycle shed.
It is an unfortunate fact that there are people in the world who are unkind and mean to others and who may also introduce them to unhealthy pursuits. When we are adults we do not tolerate this behavior and hopefully have more choices with whom we spend our time.
Children at recess are mixed together and have little chance of finding a safe place to go if they are being tormented. So often the bulling takes place far away from the watchful eye of the supervisor.
When children bully or are the victims of bulling they have not yet reached the level of maturity to understand entirely ‘why’ this behavior is occurring, let alone be mature enough to work out by themselves how to make it stop.
Many schools now encourage youngsters to tell an adult when they are having such trouble at recess, but many children are frightened to do this.
Children are often under pressure from their peers to appear cool and to join in with smoking marijuana that has been smuggled in through the school gates. Doing so can give them the social pass needed in order to be part of a group who are fashionable at the time.
On the other hand, however, recess can be a place where children learn to accept one another’s differences and learn how to socialize. Without this opportunity to do so they would find it hard to have relationships when out in the grown up world and may suffer as a consequence.
Some children are actually very pleasant and fun to be with. They build long lasting friendships and bonds that stretch way into their adult lives providing them with a support network when they need it.
This all begins at recess without which the children wouldn’t have a chance to let off steam, run around and play games and meet new children.
It would seem that there are as many benefits as there are problems with recess and we may just have to accept that having to deal with different people and situations is all part of life.
As parents, we want to always be there for our child and catch them when they fall, but there comes a time to loosen the reigns and just keep our fingers crossed and deal with any difficulty or pleasure associated with recess as it arises.