A bill filed yesterday by GOP Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers) requiring at least 40 minutes of recess for all public school elementary students has the support of Parents for Active Learning (PALs), a group pushing for more unstructured play in Arkansas schools. Della Rosa’s bill requires the recess to be outside when weather permits and allow for “free play and vigorous physical activity.” 

PALs issued a press release pointing out that recess often gets cut due to the mandated six hours of instructional time required in Arkansas. Currently, over 20 public schools are part of a recess expansion pilot program thanks to the bipartisan effort of Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch)

As the PALs website points out, unstructured play is an important part of child development and can help develop social and problem-solving skills. Usually, I am not a fan of the legislature micromanaging teachers and school districts, but as the parent of a kindergartner, I’m glad to see Della Rosa’s bill. I notice a difference in my daughter’s behavior when she has to miss her time outside on the playground. Hopefully, we will see more bills like this that actually help our kids rather than those that mandate teaching of cursive writing or require all social studies classes teach pre-1890s American history to ensure “freedom” as more women and young parents from both parties get elected to the legislature. Now if we can just find the money for universal pre-K.