What I Need is Recess!


By Leah Twerell

When I started school this year, I was so excited to have recess with my friends to play volleyball, foursquare, and freeze tag. But then I got the announcement that middle schoolers would not have recess! Instead, we have WIN, which stands for “What I Need.” 

But what I need is recess!

Not only is recess fun, it is also good for us. According to the CDC, the nation’s health protection agency, recess is part of a healthy lifestyle for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Supervised physical activity improves our memory, attention, and concentration; helps us stay on-task in the classroom; reduces disruptive behavior in the classroom; and improves our social and emotional development, for example, learning how to share and negotiate. In New Jersey, there is a law requiring at least 20 minutes of recess a day for students in grades K to 5. I’m not sure why it stops at fifth grade.

In Bradley Beach, middle schoolers were lucky to have recess until this year. Now during the 20-minute period that used to be our recess time, we go into different classrooms depending on what day it is (A, B, C, or D) to either free-write, finish some homework, or read. Students up to grade five have a 40-minute WIN period one day out of every four when they get “WHAT THEY NEED.” 

Mrs. Zylinski, our director of special services, said,  “During WIN students may receive English as a second language programming, gifted and talented, speech therapy, occupational therapy, reading intervention, etc.” 

She said in middle school, it was hard to find time in the schedule for WIN, so we do it during recess. As you already know, recess is not required for 6th to 8th graders. Mrs. Zylinski also said, “WIN is important because I do not believe students should miss out because they need something that maybe all students do not need.” 

I agree with what Mrs. Zylinski says, but I still really miss having recess.

I thought most students would choose recess, but as I was doing my reporting, I began to realize that some people at BBES do like WIN. 

For example, Jalil said, “I like it! It gives me the time to do my homework. When I get home I don’t have much time to do my homework and WIN is a good time to do that.” 

But he also thinks recess is important, “It could give your brain a break. I think having recess can cool yourself down and be yourself outside of classwork.”

Let’s see what Olivia, an eighth grader and guitar player, has to say about not having recess. 

They said, “I don’t like it and feel strongly against not having recess.”

 I also agree with Olivia. I miss having time outside with my friends and getting a brain break from schoolwork. 

But let’s go and find more information and student opinions from the eighth grade. Briana, a cheer captain, said that she loves recess, and WIN sometimes helps her do homework but only when she’s not already too stressed.

Zamantha, a Bradley Beach student since kindergarten, says she likes recess more when it’s hot and nice out than when it’s cold and that WIN gives her more time to do homework and work on art. Band member Addie also likes recess more in the summer than when it is cold. When I asked Addie about WIN, she said, “It’s okay, all I do is color or lunch art.”

Sports player and cheer captain, Bella, said that WIN was good to do homework, but she likes recess more. Cheer captain Nancy said,  “I think WIN is helpful for kids to do their homework and improve.” When I asked Nancy about recess, she thought it would be good if we could alternate recess and WIN on different days, which I also think is a great idea.

After all my interviews, my mind changed on how much some students actually like WIN. However, I found that most students also love recess even though they do see how WIN can be helpful. WIN gives time for students to get their homework done and encourages reading and art, but it doesn’t give time for relaxation outside in the fresh air and fun with our friends. It’s obvious what Bradley Beach students think … We need WIN AND we need recess. Alternating days of recess and WIN throughout the year would be the best solution. What is your opinion? Leave it in the comments.

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