Eden Prairie parents want schools to increase recess time

- It's a hot button topic for parents and educators when it comes to young students -- the length of recess. With the emphasis on learning and instruction time, some now feel children are getting cheated on the playground.

In Eden Prairie, one group of parents is fighting to expand elementary school recess to at least 30 minutes per day.

Eden Prairie is currently examining its academic design as it looks to improve the way it operates at all grade levels in the coming years.

It’s seeking feedback from the community through the end of May as part of its designing pathways initiative. Recess length is a topic for discussion.

Mary McMullen, one of the parent organizers trying to increase recess time, tells Fox 9, "Recess has really declined in the last 10-20 years due to an increased push for more instructional minutes."

According to McMullen's group, which presented its arguments at a school board meeting earlier this year, the youngest students in the district get only between 15 and 20 minutes of unstructured, outdoor recess time a day.

They want to see that number increased to a half-hour at a minimum, arguing that recess can improve a child's cognitive function, as well as social, emotional and physical well-being during the grind of a 6-plus-hour school day.

So far, an online petition has garnered some 600 signatures.

One local mom explained that a lack of recess is one reason she chooses to home school her children.

"That's way too short. Way too short, especially if you want to decrease disciplinary issues, bullying, all that stuff,” argued Kari Johnson. “Give them more time to play. Give them more time to be kids."

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