Recess: A Vital Part of Learning


Recess is fading from our children’s school day in favor of more time spent on curriculum. Although this might seem like a good idea- after all, kids are in school to learn- it is actually counter productive. Movement and play breaks provide opportunities for sensorimotor experiences, as well as a sense of autonomy, that actually promote our students’ learning.  

Understanding Move Breaks

Try thinking back to meetings that you have attended. Did you ever feel like you needed to move around? Did you reach a point where it was hard to concentrate or focus? Have you ever gotten tired of being told what to do or think all day? We all have experienced that from time to time. Now, think about what you do in these situations to help you stay focused. Move! You might stand up in the back of the room; You might tap your toes or wiggle your foot; You might fidget with something in your hands;  You might even chew some gum. Movement helps us to focus and engage our brain.

Movement breaks are even more important for our children. With shorter attention spans, they need a chance to reset their sensory systems and brain between periods of concentrated learning. Squeezing in 5 more minutes of material won’t be effective if they are unable to take in what is being taught.  

Benefits of Recess

Numerous studies have shown that recess has benefits that directly support learning, such as

  • Increasing focus and memory skills
  • Developing intellectual constructs through play and interactive sensorimotor experiences that are the foundation of learning
  • Sharpening social skills 
  • Improving mood and self-regulation
  • Decreasing inappropriate behaviors within the classroom
  • Boosting physical wellbeing for kids

Some children struggle during recess due to motor delays, sensory processing issues, or social communication issues.  If your child or student has these issues, Enablr Therapy is here to help! 


CDC (n.d.). Keep Recess in School.  Retrieved from 

Murray et al (2013).  The Crucial Role of Recess in School.  American Academy of Pediatrics.  Retrieved from

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About Enablr Therapy
Enablr Therapy offers speech, occupational, and physical therapy to people of all ages and abilities through our school-based therapy services as well as cash-based services for individual clients. Individual clients can be seen through convenient online sessions in many states across the country.