In the lives of children are the minutiae that count, wrote Antonio Gramsci in Letters from the prison . This is why school recreation is so important for their growth. Because that’s the moment, explain the experts, in which they enjoy themselves, confront each other and then treasure all those “minutiae” that will then serve to structure their behavior.
A school activity all work and no play can indeed be risky, and the tendency to eliminate leisure time in the places of learning can lead to undisciplined classes and take away from the children the necessary physical exercise and the possibility of socializing.
The time dedicated to the game can therefore be as important as the one spent on the books and helps the young students to give their best in every situation. Parents and teachers, according to the Association of American Paediatricians, should encourage this trend because, as explained, Robert Murray , a professor at Ohio State University: “children need a break between complex cognitive challenges. They tend to be less able to process information if they do not have interruptions ».
Moreover, the benefits of time dedicated to gaming would extend beyond the individual dimension, and US pediatricians agree that participating in recreational activities influences social and emotional development because it helps children to resolve conflicts, especially if it is of unstructured games, and allows them to return to class more ready to learn.
The Ohio State is not the only survey to confirm the importance of the interval. Taking more than 10,000 children between the ages of eight and nine, Dr. Romina Barros and her colleagues at the University of Medicine Albert Einstein in New York noted that those who had a recreation of at least 15 minutes during the day behaved better than those who did not have it. “Available research suggests that this space plays a very important role in the learning, social development and health of elementary school children,” explain the researchers on Pediatrics , published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In spite of the numerous studies supporting the thesis, therefore, many schools are conforming to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, reducing the time devoted to recreation, the creative arts and physical education to focus more on math and reading . “This fact – explain the American experts – is even more serious when analyzed in light of the fact that many children of disadvantaged families are not free to go out for a walk in the neighborhood or even in their own courtyard if not accompanied by an adult. For many of these children, interval minutes at school are the only chance to socialize with peers. ”
Barros also explained that children from less well-off families are often deprived of recreationbecause “the schools they attend are located in very violent areas and there is concern that they are exposed to fights or shootings during the interval”. These structures are also often overcrowded and the spaces used for recreational moments and physical activity are transformed into new classes.
«The study, to be effective – explains the pedagogist Daniele Novara, founder of the Psycho- Pedagogical Center for the peace and the management of conflicts in Piacenza – on the one hand it needs concentration without background noise, especially if of a technological nature, but also of pauses that allow the neuronal connections to facilitate the memorization of what has been read and studied. For children it is essential that the breaks involve a playful level, especially the body. The child who plays little with the body or with the senses risks to suffer significant blocks in the learning processes. As Jean Piaget said: “Action precedes thought” when it comes to children. I find it very dangerous for the growth and child learning that teachers use as a punishment, at school, suspending recreation “.
The interval is, concludes the expert, a scholastic right, based on respect for deep infantile needs. The learning of children is not encouraged by suppressing play, movement and social interaction with the comrades, but the opposite.