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School recess benefits student well-being, study finds

February 11, 2015
In the Media
Clifton Parker
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Photo: Shutterstock

A high-quality recess program can help students feel more engaged, safer and positive about the school day, according to recently published Stanford research.

In fact, recess can yield numerous benefits to an elementary school's overall climate, saidĀ Milbrey McLaughlin, the David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy, Emerita, founding director of Stanford's John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, and a co-author of theĀ article, which appeared in the Journal of School Health.

"Positive school climate has been linked to a host of favorable student outcomes, from attendance to achievement," the study noted.

In an interview, McLaughlin said, "Recess isn't normally considered part of school climate, and often is shortchanged in tight fiscal times, but our research shows that can be a critical contributor to positive school climate in low-income elementary schools."

McLaughlin's co-authors are Rebecca London (lead author), formerly of Stanford and now a researcher at UC Santa Cruz; Lisa Westrich, a former Stanford research and policy analyst; and Katie Stokes-Guinan, a former Stanford graduate student researcher.

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