Montgomery County doubles recess time at elementary schools

By  | 

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Elementary school students in Montgomery County are set to get more recess time this upcoming school year.

"We're going from 20 to 25 minutes to 40 to 50 minutes in every school and our schools will be dividing it up between the morning and the afternoon to make sure that kids are moving in different parts of the day," said MCPS Superintendent Mark Miear.

A new state law passed in April allows any recreational time intended to develop teamwork, social skills and overall physical fitness to now be used toward an elementary school's instructional time.

Miear said he expects to see the impact in the classroom.

"I think it will help with classroom management. I think it will help with kids' retention of information. I think it's possible our test scores may even go up because of it," he said.

The new law went into effect July 1st. Montgomery County will be one of the first districts in the state to incorporate the change.

Miear said part of the inspiration came from a school system in Finland, where he witnessed firsthand the impact of added free time.

"Their elementary schools, their structure is usually 45 minutes of instruction, 15 minutes of recess every hour, and they're getting results," he said, "and a lot of the teachers attribute it to that ability to move."