42 answers

Teacher Taking Away Recess

So my question is this:
My kids elementary school has a "reading program" where every book has a certain amount of points that can be earned when they take a test on the book they read.
In my daughters class, they have 3 levels of points they can get 8 points for bronze, 10 for silver and 12 for gold.
My daughter has not yet reached any of the above goals, and is therefor denied recess and has to sit and read instead.
The thing is, you have to get to gold to get to go to recess, so I'm not really following the whole point of even counting the other 2.
What upsets me more is that she is missing out on her recess, a time to relax and have fun with her friends and take a break from the class room. Granted she gets to go outside to read, but only to sit and watch her friends play from afar.
My question is a multiple one: Is this legal to do in California (deny recess)? Have you had this happen to your kids? What did you do?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My son is very physically active, so when I found out he was missing recess for not finishing his centers on time, I was very concerned. Missing recess seems to affect his entire life. :) I emailed his teacher. I talked with my son about why he thought he was having trouble finishing his centers and then brainstormed with his teachers ways to help him finish. Even though I was not certain that what his teachers required of him was within his ability, I acted as if I felt that way when I spoke with them. I actually found that they were interested in helping him to accomplish the work. One of the teachers suggested I set up some kind of reward at home for when he finishes his work. At first I didn't want to do that, but gave it a try anyway. My son chose fruit snacks after school as his reward for days that he finishes centers. I was amazed at how well that worked for him! Now he only misses recess once or twice a month and he is much happier.

More Answers

NO NO NO!!!! I would be there this afternoon for a conference! I LOVE to read, and we all know how extremely important it is, but to punish a kid with reading is to ruin it forever. Plus, I am a BIG recess advocate. Kids need recess -desperately. They need to unwind, get some exercise, etc.

Make SURE you discuss the reading program and how it's tied to their grade. Is it Accelerated Reader or a different one? I've never taught at a school or witnessed a school that tied the program to the grade. Yes, in most places you can get bonus points or extra credit, but even if a child never reaches a goal in it, their grade and school experience should not be impacted.

I'm not sure of the legality of it, but I would not stand for it. I would have such a fit they would be delighted to turn them all out for recess immediately to shut me up! I would mention the legality of it when I went to the school today though, and go ahead and call your school board member to start that process.

6 moms found this helpful

Wow if there was ever a way to make a chile HATE reading than this is surely IT. Have you talked to the teacher about this? I would not be ok with this AT ALL. Even adults have mandated rest periods and kids, especially younger ones need recess in order to take break and e ready for more learning afterwards! If a discussion with the techer does not do it, take your concerns to the principal. Also look up your school districts rules on recess.
I would consider pulling my child from a school that does not promote joy for learning... sure sometimes things are hard, but making a kid HATE to learn is NOT the answer.
Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful

Recess is a necessary part of the day for elementary school children, not a privilege that needs to be earned. I would start with telling the teacher that while you appreciate her goal, this punitive use of recess is NOT working for your daughter. Rather than encourage her to finish her reading, it de-motivates her, isolates and ostracizes her, turns what it already a struggle (reading) into a punishment that will have her form an even more negative view of reading and you are requesting that she stop this practice for your daughter. If she reacts that she can't change the rule for just your child, then tell her that she can then change it for the whole class or you will go over her head to whoever you need to, but your daughter WILL be playing and relaxing at recess.

Then, of course, you have to address the underlying problem with reading but first, get her playing and relaxing outside. All kids need that break to socialize, burn energy and do their best.

Here's a summary of your state's code of education that addresses recess - of note is the line: "to provide daily recess periods for elementary school pupils, featuring time for unstructured but supervised play." Perhaps mentioning this to the teacher will get him or her to back down immediately.

Ed.Code 33350:

33350. The State Department of Education shall do all of the
following:

(c) Encourage school districts offering instruction in
kindergarten and any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to the extent that
resources are available, to provide quality physical education that
develops the knowledge, attitudes, skills, behavior, and motivation
needed to be physically active and fit for life; to provide daily
recess periods for elementary school pupils, featuring time for
unstructured but supervised play; to provide extracurricular physical
activity and fitness programs and physical activity and fitness
clubs; and to encourage the use of school facilities for physical
activity and fitness programs offered by the school, public park and
recreation districts, or community-based organizations outside of
school hours.

3 moms found this helpful

I substitute teach and have at the same school for 10 yrs.

We take recess away for discipline issues and work completion. If children are not finished with their work during class either by wasting time, just not doing the work, or need assistance then they sit in at recess to do the work. A teacher is there to help them with this work if needed.

They have the choice to behave and to get the work done... They know the consequence of not following the rules (no recess)

They do ALL go to PE for a 45 minute period.

Afterschool tutoring is provided FREE at the school for the children to work in small groups with the teacher. There are also reading programs afterschool FREE. Another option is private tutoring.

Maybe she should also work one on one with you to boost her reading skill level.

3 moms found this helpful

The important question is why is she behind in her reading? Why isn't she reading books at home? She should be reading her books at home and taking the tests at school. Why are other kids able to meet requirements and your daughter is not?

At my kids' school, kids have to stay in for recess when they are behind on their work. If your daughter needs reading help, then you should either ask the school to provide a tutor or pay for outside tutoring yourself.

Yes, by all means talk to the teacher, but to ask her what your daughter should be doing to meet her requirements and what you can do to help her.

3 moms found this helpful

Call the School board. Talk to the Principal. This is harmful to your child.
I don't like school bullies called teachers. She knows full well children need exercise to keep their brains chugging along. She could lose her credential.

3 moms found this helpful

I doubt it's illegal and would add, is your school one where it's tough to get into and therefore they want to keep the standards really high? I don't mind that so much and would actually prefer if more schools cracked down. If she hasn't read up to where she is suppose to be, my question is.. is this reading suppose to have happened at home and if so, why isn't it being done? my son MUST read 100 mins every week, which I think isn't much. Then, he is suppose to turn in a reading log of which he must summarize what he read. IF it's not done.. he gets NO recess... I think there has to be consequences .. My son LOVES his recess so he knows. no reading.. no recess... Do I complain NO.. I know children need the discipline.. Also, I know it's my responsibility to make him do his reading.. if he didn't , I would feel very guilty for doing my parental job...(as I see it)

Get her to do that reading.. it's so essential.. if she is having a tough time, then see if tutoring is available.. the kids need to learn strong habits while they are young..

good luck

3 moms found this helpful

Help her read more. However, taking away the only time the kids have in a day to be kids is unacceptable. It should be used only as punishment.

My daughter's teacher had threatened to do it earlier this year and I set him straight on my views immediately. My daughter is to go straight to the office if she is in trouble for something stupid (me not signing her agenda) and call me. Recess should not be used as a pawn. It doesn't have to be earned.

And funny how they talk about kids not getting enough exercise, but then they have to read when they could be running? I don't get it.

3 moms found this helpful

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