MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) — Recess time will be tripled next year for some Arkansas public elementary schools. This pilot program is part of a 2017 Arkansas law to give students at least an hour of unstructured physical activity during school. The pilot program will include surveys to tell the Department of Education how it affects students behavior and learning.
During the 2018-2019 school year. Thirty-two schools across Arkansas will have longer recesses as part of the Extended Recess Pilot.
For kindergarten through fourth grade, students will get at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity. For fifth and sixth grade it will be extended to at least 45 minutes.
"It triples the time we have," said Tonya Raborn, P.E. teacher at Pine Forest Elementary School.
Right now, students there get 20 minutes of recess.
“My hope is that it will cut down on behavior problems and the wiggles which in turn will give you back more instruction time," Raborn said.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends children receive at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day to result in better grades, memory and behaviors. Only 21.6 percent of kids receive this recommended amount.
"All of our elementary schools are applying," said Heather Rhodes-Newburn, North Little Rock School District Health Coordinator.
The pilot program allows participating schools to arrange the schedules around this new recess time, whether that means time cut from classes or longer school days.
“Those students who suffer from ADD and ADHD that would just help them to be more productive in the classroom," Rhodes-Newburn said.
An informational webinar will be held next week. Schools must apply by mid-March and those selected will be notified on April 6.