Over the past three years, dozens of frustrated parents have urged state lawmakers to step in and protect recess time for Arizona students, especially younger ones. Few schools across the state offer at least two recess periods per day for unstructured playtime, according to parents and physical-education advocates.
And some schools appear to have done away with recess entirely.
"Arizona’s youngest learners need this protection," said Christine Davis, a parent in the Madison School District who founded the Arizonans for Recess coalition. "Sadly, common sense has left too many of our school buildings.”
The coalition believes recess is a basic right for students, helps academic achievement and promotes a child's well-being.
Parents and teachers have said they've been troubled by declining recess time and blame state and federal mandates that have placed pressure-cooker expectations on schools to have students perform well on standardized exams.
Last week, the Senate Education Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 1083, which would require at least two recess periods per day for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
“(Students) will learn better. And any time that’s been given up in the classroom I know without a shadow of a doubt will not affect their testing in the end," said Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, the bill's sponsor