Most students look forward to their midday recess break throughout the morning at school. However, for some students, recess might be a point of stress or discomfort.
It is common for children to deal with exclusion at recess – including children with disabilities. There could be numerous reasons for this, from inaccessible playground equipment to teachers withholding recess as a form of punishment. Here are a few critical things to understand about inclusion and your child’s right to play.
Play is important for development – and a right
You know just how important play is for your child. However, it is also important to note that the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights declared play as a human right for children.
This is largely because play is critical for the development of both a child’s body and brain. Your child can get physical exercise while also using their imagination and social skills, which is important for all forms of learning.
So, how can you protect the right to play?
If your child is excluded at recess for reasons related to a learning, intellectual, or physical disability, there are a few things that you can do as their parent. You can:
- Do your research: As we have discussed in a previous blog post, inclusion at recess is essential, and is even protected by the law. Learn about the importance of inclusion as well as your child’s rights as they relate to inclusion.
- Share your concerns: Speak with your child’s teacher or your child’s individualized education program (IEP) team to discuss your worries. You may be able to work together to address those concerns and come up with solutions to increase inclusion as well as accessibility.
- Brainstorm other disciplinary measures: Some teachers may restrict recess as a punishment for students who act out in class; however, if your child has ADHD or another disability, recess can often be a critical outlet of energy to help your child focus. It may be helpful to speak with your child’s classroom teacher to consider other options for discipline.
Recess and time to play are critical to a child’s day. If your child is not being allowed to participate during recess, there are steps you can take to address the situation.