Breaks are a welcome downtime for both children and teachers. A structured, rigorous academic schedule is necessary for teachers to teach and children to learn. However, a good source of learning also takes place during recess, allowing children to do what they want (to an extent) in an unstructured, safe environment. Here’s why:

Hard work in short stretches is better

Work that includes breaks and downtime proves more effective than working in long stretches. Children tend to be less able to process information the longer they are held to a task. It’s not enough to switch from math to English. You have to take a mental break.

Recess reduces stress

Playing is a great way for children to take a break and let go of negative feelings and regain control. Recess is a way for children to focus on creative thinking, which allows them to forget what is troubling them. They are much happier after unstructured play, which helps to improve their behavior, increasing participation in the classroom, and be a better listener.

Recess develops social skills

A recess may be the only time during the day when children have an opportunity to experience socialization and real communication. Playtime’s benefits extend beyond the physical. It helps children practice conflict resolution through unstructured play.

Exercise is healthy

While many children suffer from obesity, children at healthy weight levels benefit from physical activity as well. Outside is the best place for children to burn calories, practice emerging physical skills, and experience the pure joy of movement. Additionally, natural light improves wellness, which is vital to the immune system and makes us feel better.

Gym class is not recess

There needs to be a distinction between the two. While gym class offers children a chance to stretch their legs and get their heart rate up, it is still considered instructional time. It is a class with very different goals from those of the unstructured downtime of a recess. Likewise, it’s important to let children play what they want. Playground monitors shouldn’t try to organize groups to play a structured game. When it’s structured, it’s not a break in the day.

At Heaven’s Elect, we practice fun and safe recess time outdoors when the weather is cooperative.  When it’s not cooperating, we take breaks indoors and still manage to have a good time.

Heaven’s Elect Christian Learning Center and Daycare is a Non-denominational Christian childcare center fully licensed by the state of Michigan. Our Midland daycare center has been serving the community since 2000. Please contact us at