Study: Play time benefits young students - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Study: Play time benefits young students

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Recent studies show that physical activity is beneficial to classroom instruction. (KTEN) Recent studies show that physical activity is beneficial to classroom instruction. (KTEN)

SHERMAN, Texas -- More play, less work. That's the newest trend in schools around Texoma.

The concept is based on a study by Texas Christian University that found more exercise throughout the day helps youngsters do better with classwork.

"I would agree with that," said Sherman Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Susan Whitenack. "Kids need time to regroup; they need time to be active."

This study is part of the LiiNK Project (Let's Inspire Innovation 'n Kids), which advocates four 15-minute recess periods each day. The result? Children preform and focus better in the classroom. A side benefit is improved physical health.

Twelve school districts in North Texas and Oklahoma have already implemented this concept into their school days, and the Sherman ISD is considering it.

"We know that children need to move to learn," Whitenack said. "It's just a matter of adjusting our day and time to make that happen."

Though some might be skeptical that more recess and breaks take youngsters away from learning, Sherman psychiatrist Deepika Bhargava explains that play acts as a brain "reboot" that helps kids to focus.

"Elementary school kids, their attention span is 20 minutes," Dr. Bhargava said. "So if you had a break after 20 or 30 minutes, that would improve their focus and concentration."

Schools in Sherman already provide "brain breaks" that have kids getting up every 15 minutes. And the district will now consider additional recesses. 

So whether kids are exercising their bodies or their brains, more play is demonstrably beneficial in the long term.

Schools that have adopted the LiiNK Project have already shown a six percent improvement in math and reading skills.

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