Education Letter to the Editor

Yes to Recess and Classes ‘With the Sky for a Ceiling’

March 11, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

As a strong advocate for incorporating a change of pace and place into the school day, I was delighted to read Vicky Schippers’ Commentary “Say Yes to Recess” (Feb. 20, 2008). As Ms. Schippers states, “Recess … is about freedom.” I would add that recess is not only the freedom of unstructured play, but also the freedom to experience the natural exhilaration that occurs whenever a student is outdoors.

I found, while researching my book Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning, that a growing body of evidence shows that going outside for instruction, in addition to recess, can actually lead to enhanced student achievement. The outdoors can be used as both a venue and a source of content to provide exciting, engaging experiences that motivate student learning, and the research clearly shows that increased student motivation is directly linked to student achievement.

The concept of teaching with the sky for a ceiling and the natural landscape as an audiovisual tool is both challenging and empowering. At a time when natural curiosity about the outdoors is being eclipsed by the demands of busy schedules and the ever-present glow of video screens, schools may become the only place where children are encouraged to interact with nature.

Herbert W. Broda

Associate Professor of Education

Ashland University

Ashland, Ohio

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 12, 2008 edition of Education Week as Yes to Recess and Classes ‘With the Sky for a Ceiling’


Teaching Webinar Examining the Evidence: What We’re Learning From the Field About Implementing High-Dosage Tutoring Programs
Tutoring programs have become a leading strategy to address COVID-19 learning loss. What evidence-based principles can district and school leaders draw on to design, implement, measure, and improve high-quality tutoring programs? And what are districts
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)