Article written

  • on 17.05.2011
  • at 01:59 PM
  • by Jessy Troy

Report Card: An “O” For Obese Since School Recess Has Subsided


As I grow older, I find myself reflecting more and more on the long hours I spent at school, as the days began and ended with sun-filled recesses with the sounds of laughing and screaming children.

Of course now I am older, and understand recess wasn’t so much about giving the kids a chance to be kids, but that recess was a critical part of any child’s development, allowing children to create, socialize, and spend large amounts of energy.

The saying, “the times, they are a changin'” never grows old. We are now in a competition driven world and all sorts of people expect a lot from children academically, so much to the point that in many parts of the world, the time for recess has been eliminated or shortened in order to place more focus on academics. The idea that playtime for children is important now seems to be a thing of the past, and instead, children have become ‘little adults’ living in results driven environments, but unfortunately these results are often not the intended ones. Instead of a child receiving an “A”, children everywhere are receiving “C”s for ‘chubby’ or “F”s for “fat”; or in a more politically correct fashion, children are now more obese than ever and mental or emotional disorders, such as hyperactivity, are on the rise.

Darrell Hammond is the founder of KaBOOM!, an organization established sixteen years ago in order to aid in creating playgrounds and other “playtime” areas for children all over the country. Recently, Hammond published the book “KaBOOM: How One May Built A Movement to Save Play” in an attempt to share the lessons he has learned while acting as an advocate for children’s playtime, stating it’s a crucial part of a child’s development.

One thing I took away from the book was that social change will contribute itself to personal transoformation. Hammond tells us that literally anyone out there can make a change, and that it’s not limited to teachers, parents, school administrators, or those in similar positions. This is coming from a man who as a child lived in a group home and never earned a college degree, but yet has made such a profound impact. Although cliche, it’s true that change comes from within, and provoking this change doesn’t require a fancy degree or being the product of a pedigree family.

Secondly, Hammond tells us how an organization can actually become a success. In just over ten years, KaBOOM! has raised $200 million from a variety of corporations and has heavily utilized a million volunteers. Success followed, and and Hammond also intended to learn from what had failed by remaining humble and vulnerable. Additionally, KaBOOM! was innovative in taking a new approach to this growing social issue, doing so by developing public-private partnerships, whereas before it was just a common practice.

Perhaps the most important thing I gained from reading Hammond’s book was the prompt I received to re-evaluate the importance of those sunny, afternoon recesses and playtime. Hammond states that children being able to play is not a luxury, but rather a necessity that children need to build social skills, promote creativity, and even lend itself to physical muscle development. Not only does this give the child happiness, it also leads to a new generation that is productive. He feels that playtime should be child-led and driven and that it should be an unstructured environment.

If we simply re-evaluate where we stand with this important issue, you’ll begin questioning yourself and wondering where your life would be today had you not heard those bells ring for recess.

Janet Marie Frank writes for the Social work course reviews blog. Her hobby blog she uses to provide help for people who want to work into the social field. She has over 15 years of social working carrer and contributed to create a lot of Universities courses to give people master degrees in social work.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Harpersbizarre

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