Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Erik Peterson, R-Hunterdon, Warren and Somerset, that requires public schools to provide a 20 minute daily recess period for students between kindergarten and 5th grade was passed by the Assembly Education Committee today.
“There are multiple health and developmental benefits from allowing students recess,” said Peterson. “Many of the country’s children are overweight, and an increasing number are developing cardiovascular risk factors and Type 2 diabetes. Children should have an opportunity and be encouraged to engage in physical exercise while at school.
“Not only does recess provide kids with a chance to let off some energy so they can better concentrate on their academics, it also allows them to develop their social skills and learn valuable life lessons by teaching them how to be good sports while playing a game,” explained Peterson. “Ultimately, my hope is that by providing this opportunity to play during the school day our kids will come to enjoy getting outside and playing with classmates more than sitting around and watching TV.
“Today’s students have other outlets, like the internet, to distract them from physical activity or getting to know their classmates,” stated Peterson. “In many cases, the pressure to succeed begins at an early age. This stress can be reduced by letting kids be kids and enjoy a brief break from their school day and to be kids.”
The bill, A-4044, also provides that recess will not be permitted to meet the current statutory requirements regarding physical education courses in public schools.
Currently, New Jersey has is no law mandating recess.
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