Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Link between recess and eye sight?

As a teacher I don't love & support recess because it gives me a break (it doesn't, recess is crazy stressful trying to make sure nobody hurts themselves, managing friend squabbles, and redirecting behavior), but because the kids need it. It doesn't take you long when you are working with a group of kids to discover that after they've gone outside to play they are more engaged and ready for the rest of the day.

I found a short paragraph in September's Parent magazine about a new link between recess and kids' eyesight. Who knew? A new study published in Opthalmology found that when they compared two groups of children- one group got 80 minutes of outdoor recess and a group not required to go outside- that the group without recess was "twice as likely to have developed nearsightedness, or myopia, at the end of the year."
The researchers hypothesize that this could be because recess gives additional sun exposure, but also breaks up long stretches of children sitting inside reading and focusing on close up work.

Who knew?
Go outside and play!

I don't know any school that gives students 80 minutes of recess, but it does make me think about what our kids do when they come home from school. Some families do not have the means to take their children outside to play after a long day in school and the kids go from being inside at school to being inside at home. These, of course, are the same families who are less likely to have vision insurance, or to be able to afford glasses, leading to undiagnosed vision problems that may poorly influence academic performance.

It's something to think about.

Parents Magazine, September 2013, pg 70.

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