Parents urging HISD to guarantee recess

February 7, 2012 4:16:58 PM PST
With childhood obesity becoming epidemic in the US, some say now is not the time for school districts to be cutting recess from the school day. Now a local parent is leading the charge to make sure students have time to play.

We're talking about guaranteed playtime in the school day for young Houston children, and for one mother, she wants to make sure every child gets it.

It's not hard to see kids loving recess at Roberts Elementary. But this isn't just play time, it's also a crucial part of their education.

"Our children use the playground as another classroom; they are out here learning and practicing social skills, understanding how to respect rules, negotiate conflict, take turns -- things we want them to know as healthy adults," Roberts Elementary School Principal Rita Graves said.

While Graves actively makes sure her students get the proper amount of physical activity, Chrysi Polodoris is concerned some schools may be forgoing recess for school work.

"But I think our principals are under a hard situation where they're needing to pass the tests and show whether or not they're recognized, exemplary. Their students are learning, and I don't think that they get enough support to implement the PE time that we need," Polodoris said.

That's why this mother of four has made it her crusade, pushing HISD to pass a resolution as part of the school health advisory council. In part, the resolution would:

  • Guarantee 30 minutes of supervised recess daily for elementary school kids
  • View recess as a needed component in education
  • Point out that recess shouldn't replace PE

"Research shows recess stimulates the brain. Physical activity of any kind stimulates the brain, and it's appropriate at this age," Polodoris said.

State law already requires all elementary kids get 30 minutes of physical activity daily, but Polodoris wants HISD will take the extra step of adopting that resolution to ensure all elementary students will have access to recess like the kids at Roberts.

"We find it easy to comply, because it's something we really, really believe in. We believe it's important for kids to get outside and get active and play," Graves said.

Polodoris is hoping the school board will take up the resolution in March.