Possibly due to our parents comments on above form, when I called the school to speak to the assistant principal, she told me that my daughter was actually allowed outside at recess but not allowed to play on the playground. In our discussion, however, after disclosing the nature my profession and therefore my investment in the issues surrounding the importance of physical activity for children, I made some points about the value of recess and how using it as a consequence was "counter productive" and lacking in creativity on their behalf (an overview of which can be found at this link). I also questioned how this was allowed if it contravened their school wellness policy. The assistant principal advised me that "privileges" (yes I did say "privileges") such as recess were taken away for misbehavior. She suggested that she would be welcome to hear any ideas "I" had. I suggested to her that maybe convening a meeting of her faculty might be more productive for her and asking them to come up with some alternative ways to manage infractions other than those listed on the sheet above. One of my Twitter friends also suggested sending her "a book on democratic schooling" and the even more radical idea of involving the students at the school in the discussions! As if we can do that!
However, some suggestions that I was offered by colleagues on Twitter and beyond were related to attempting to motivate children to do what they are supposed to be doing rather than taking away or losing anything. Some ideas included using reward points that were built up in the week by good behavior with rewards earned from that a bit like we do with stores rewards points, credit cards or with air miles. Another great suggestion was to write a note to the child who they hurt apologizing for the infraction or maybe ask the pupil (my daughter) to assist the other pupil with something they needed? Asking the pupil (my daughter) to write out a list or draw a picture of what good lining up after recess entails was also suggested. And I wondered about asking her to line up early (30 seconds before everyone else) might work and then being the line leader or having her assist the teacher in gathering the group safely (and reinforcing what is safe and not safe) at the end of recess.
In sum, I think we can all see that there are many strategies that are eminently more productive that losing whole recesses. Yes, being allowed outside to walk is better that losing recess altogether. I'm just not sure that is the answer. Let's not allow our children to miss out on valuable opportunities to be physically active, especially when we know from research how important movement is because it "affords a time to rest, play, imagine, think, move, and socialize" (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2013, p. 183). Where's the research saying using punitive measures and taking things away from pupils actually works? If you want to offer more suggestions for my daughter's school beyond what I suggest in this blog then please, please, please, add a comment.