Share this article

print logo

Board member urges Williamsville schools to give pupils time out

Pupils in the Williamsville School District's six elementary and four middle schools already receive about two hours of physical education every week.

But School Board member Dawn Cerra believes they would benefit by having opportunities for unstructured play time or recess.

At Tuesday's board meeting, she persuaded the board to, at least, consider investigating how the introduction of recess might be uniformly implemented in the district.

"I asked to have recess looked at because I am an advocate for our children, and it's beneficial for their health, mentally and physically," said Cerra. "We have a new board goal this year around it. I think recess would fit in perfectly."

Cerra helped launch a program to add 10 minutes of recess to the end of children's lunch periods at two schools in the district that were attended by her children, Maple West Elementary and Heim Middle School. The program incorporates the use of parent volunteers to help supervise the children outside.

After a lengthy discussion on the benefits of providing students opportunities for unstructured play time, the board Tuesday unanimously agreed to seek more information about how recess might be uniformly implemented at the district's six elementary and four middle schools.

Among the questions board members seek to have answered are who would be in charge of supervising the recess, how would it be uniformly implemented throughout the district and whether there ought to be required training for parent volunteers.

Other issues that the board members explored included whether recess should be offered year-round or only during certain periods in the school year, at what point in the day would it be offered and for how long.

School Superintendent Howard S. Smith noted that while providing youngsters 10 or more minutes of recess was a worthy endeavor, it will likely take away from instructional time somewhere down the line.

Meanwhile, the board Tuesday also agreed to approve the addition of a health course for freshmen and sophomores in the school district. Currently, students have to wait until they are juniors or seniors to take formal class instruction on health, which is required under the state's curriculum guidelines.

The goal would be to implement the modification to the district's health curriculum by next September. However, some board members raised concern about whether the effects of the recent national economic crisis might be an impediment to that endeavor.

Smith cautioned that it is currently unknown how many freshmen might be interested in enrolling in the freshman health course, which would not be mandatory.

"It really is driven by the number of children that sign up and how many teachers we would need in this first year," Smith said.

If the district finds itself in a position to have to cut educational programs, it is unlikely the modified health curriculum would survive the cut, he added.


There are no comments - be the first to comment