Editorial: Morning break must return for students

Illustration by Chloe Chace
Illustration by Chloe Chace

It is indisputable that the school is always pushing to provide an optimal education for every individual. However, as the new Waverley Park playground is an accessible space for recess time, it leaves the administration with questions to answer; will the school cut class time to re-create a twenty minute morning break, and how will they continue to work hard towards what is best for the student body? The administration has now decided after thorough research, that because of an unbalance in time that leaves some classes more time than others, interference with the PE schedule, and other complications, the current middle school schedule will remain the same. The editors of The Scroll acknowledge the issues that incorporating morning break into the schedule would bring, but think that the school should look at a way to bring it back in the future.

The break times before the last school year allowed twenty minutes in between the first two blocks of the day during which students could grab a snack, meet with teachers, socialize on the playground, or simply prepare for their next class.

Middle School Principal Mr. Peter Lutkoski said that one of the arguments against having this time is that “[it] would have to do with the balance of time in class,” and that there would be, “an inequity in the amount of time that students would have in their different classes.” While this may be true, the first class of the day is still only seventy minutes, while the rest are eighty, and by that logic students shouldn’t even have the ten minute break that they currently do. If class-length equity is such a big issue, then why is there a break at all?

In addition, all class times being equitable is not necessarily a need, and is eclipsed by the need of the added ten minutes to bring back Morning Break. Recess is not only something that middle schoolers naturally want, but it is also proven that it aids children’s cognitive performance. Research from the American Association of Pediatrics has shown that after uninterrupted concentration, it is extremely important to have interruption. Rather than alternating from one class to the next, a free period is key in reducing stress and distractions that interfere with the cognitive processing. In multiple studies it was shown that students who had a break between classes were more attentive and focused than those who didn’t. Even though ASL already is above the recommended break time, learning would benefit from this added time.

This time isn’t only crucial for preadolescents, and it has been discovered to be just as significant with adolescents. Furthermore, the actual activity that occupies this time is not of great importance, and whether someone is socializing or playing a game of soccer, the value is equal. It was seen in research that students’ ability to adjust focus was restorative more by the break than by the activity that occurred during that break; all activities at recess contributed to better performance afterward. Additionally, recess promotes social and emotional development by providing a time to engage in peer interactions, and practice lifelong social skills. Having just one break at the lunch hour is truly not enough.

Another flaw that comes with only having a ten minute passing period in the morning is it leaves an inability to advocate for oneself. Yes, students could speak to their teachers during lunch break, but it means that they will miss this time and not have even a single break to relieve themselves of stress, which is not okay. Complications in a teacher’s schedule could also mean that they are busy during the midday period, and leave students with no way to receive help or clarification on their assignments. This could not only set a student back in class, but leave them confused and unconfident in the subject.

The small addition of ten minutes in the morning is more worthy of attention than it may be perceived. Despite there being difficulties bringing this time back, there should be an effort toward revising the schedule.

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