Whitefield Academy Blog
Recess For Middle Schoolers: Why It’s Important
As Upper School educators, we have found that our sixth, seventh, and even eighth graders reach a point during the day where distractions are strong and the ability to sit still decreases significantly. So rather than creating punishments to discourage this behavior, we decided to bring back something that was the norm for this age at one time but no longer is: recess.
Middle School Recess
At Whitefield Academy, our middle schoolers (seventh and eighth grade) have two short recesses each school day. The first occurs mid-morning and the second just after lunch, and our sixth graders have one 45 minute recess. Boys and girls play pick-up games of football or ga-ga ball, stand around and chat, or explore the grounds. Even when it is cold, students get these two opportunities each day to breathe in some fresh air and relax with their peers.
A Complete Education
These recesses originated to fill an immediate need for our students, but they also represent more than a chance to get the wiggles out. As a Christian school, we believe that a complete education does not end with the mind. Scripture is quite clear that what God desires of us is to love Him with all that we are, and that includes loving Him with our bodies. It is glorious to God and good for us to be physically active, which is why we seek to instill in each student a lifestyle of movement. Our physical education classes provide a structured version of this while Middle School recess provides an opportunity for unstructured movement.
The Classical Approach
In addition, Whitefield Academy is a classical school, meaning that our approach to education is rooted in practices and parameters first articulated in Ancient Greece. This approach was adopted and further refined by the early church. These are our roots, educationally speaking. From the very beginning, education was understood to have four pillars, all of which must be developed in a young person in order for that person to be considered truly educated. These four pillars are liberal (academic), religious, moral, and physical. It is our desire to educate the whole person which requires that we consider our students not as simply thinking beings but spiritual, emotional, and physical beings as well. As such, each day, our sixth, seventh, and eighth graders walk and laugh, talk and play outside of the classroom, which we believe only enhances everything we do in it.