VIRGINIA BEACH — After months of campaigning through a Facebook group called “More Recess for Virginia Beach,” a group of parents combined with efforts from teachers, principals and counselors have succeeded in adding more recess time to their children’s days at school.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools announced the substantial increase in recess time will affect students in full-day kindergarten classes and first through fifth grades beginning next year.
Recess for full-day kindergarten will go from 20 to 40 minutes a day, a 100 percent increase, public school officials said.
The change calls for 15 minutes to happen before or after physical education, and 25 minutes elsewhere in the instructional day, away from the regular PE time.
For first through fifth grades, recess will increase from 20 to 30 minutes.
Fifteen minutes will take place before or after PE and 15 minutes will occur during the instructional day, away from the regular PE time, officials said.
With the increase in time dedicated to recess, combined with PE classes, VBCPS will be the only division in the area providing elementary school students with an average 65 minutes per day of active movement, or 325 minutes per week.
That’s twice the active-movement time recommended by the state, officials said.
“We are so pleased that our youngest learners will have more time for self-directed activity,” said Nicole DeVries, director of K-12 and gifted programs. “These are golden opportunities for students to develop social skills and improve overall physical fitness.”
VBCPS credits the changes as the result of months of work by the Elementary Recess Committee, a group of parents, teachers, principals and counselors, which reviewed research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and considered input from VBCPS employees and families before making the recommendations to senior staff.
Teachers will be working with administrators over the summer to develop schedules and implementation guidelines, officials said.