Bill Would Require 20 Minute Recess In NJ Public Schools

Jan 26, 2018

Senator Shirley Turner

A measure being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would require public school districts to provide a daily recess period of at least 20 minutes for students from kindergarten through the 5th grade.  

Marybeth Beichert with the New Jersey Education Association told lawmakers that recess is beneficial for kids.

“It’s the only time that students get to be themselves and play and be free. Students need unstructured time to become well advanced in academics, social, and emotional behaviors in an otherwise very structured world that they sit in every single day.”

Senator Shirley Turner says being active at recess could help fight child obesity and health problems.

“And if they don’t get the activity in school, they’re not going to get it at home, particularly in our urban areas. Because when kids come home from school and also on the weekends, chances are they’re not going to go outside because their parents are fearful that something is going to happen in the way of a shooting or drug abuse.”  

Betsy Ginsburg with the Garden State Coalition of Schools says some school districts have  concerns about the recess mandate.

“In some of our member districts with smaller buildings gyms are used as lunchrooms, and to find the space on inclement weather days is going to be a problem.”