Our children deserve recess

Recess cuts due to job action hurts kids in Vernon and across B.C.

This letter is in response to the recent news story headline, “Administrators on Recess Duty” and the subsequent “For the Record” notice stating that this headline was incorrect. As the correction states, “there is currently no recess in the district…”

I am a parent of two elementary school children. When I first learned, in September, that recess would be cancelled and children dismissed 15 minutes early due to the teachers’ strike I was incredibly disappointed that my children would be losing out on this much-needed break.

Unstructured play during recess (as opposed to the 30 minutes of ‘structured’ daily physical activity provided to elementary students) provides children with a wide range of benefits including stress reduction, enhanced learning in the classroom, and social skills development.

Indeed, research on the benefits of recess is quite overwhelming.

The cancelling of recess by School District 22 was framed as a safety issue. Parents were told that due to the teachers’ limited job action there would not be adequate supervision during recess, thus recess would need to be cancelled.

It was my understanding that this was a standard response by most school districts across B.C. It has recently come to my attention that this has not been the typical response by other school districts.

Apparently, only six districts in all of B.C. are currently denying children recess (one district had initially cancelled recess but then reinstated it and returned to the normal dismissal time).

There are 60 school districts in BC. If 90 per cent of these can find a way to provide their students with recess during the teachers’ job action, why can’t ours?


Kelli Sullivan, Vernon