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Moms organize grass roots recess push

February 21st, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida law requires public schools to offer physical education classes for all grades, but the law is silent on recess for elementary aged children, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, that could soon be changing,

Only 3 of the state’s 67 counties…all of them small require 20 minutes of free play recess each day. But research say free play helps kids develop. Moms across the state including Marie Claire Lehman are leading the grass roots effort to make recess mandatory.

“Without this state mandate, many kids across Florida will be denied recess and it will effect they emotional health” says Lehman.

Lawmakers have encouraged districts to adopt the recess but stopped short of requiring it because they wanted local control for local districts. But groups like Daily Recess, led by Kate Asturias say it hasn’t worked.

“It’s not local control, it’s local neglect” Asturias told lawmakers.

With PTA support, the bill was approved 7-0

Adults get a coffee break, and supporters say kids deserve one too.

Barbara Hedge came from Pinellas County, she says, to speak for the one point three million kids in elementary schools.

“All of the evidence supports and shows how daily recess  for children K through 5, helps them academically. Socially. Helps them grow. Helps them learn behaviors they are not learning in school. Learn how to interact and socialize” says Hedge.

Sponsor Anitere Flores is optimistic the bill will pass the Senate after failing last year.

“Sitting in a chair for six hours a day is something we as adults have a tough time doing. Imagine asking your six or seven your old to be doing that, and then having to be a teacher” says the Miami Senator.

The reason for optimism. There are 20 new members of the Senate this year.

The staff analysis says the end result of mandatory recess is that kids may get more physical exercise.

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