The First Lady’s commitment to reducing the “play deficit” – Part II

And when it comes to getting kids more active, it seems that Mrs. Obama will have the support of the nation’s school principals.

Sponsored by The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and leading non-profit Playworks, the Gallup organization conducted a first-of its-kind survey of almost 2,000 elementary principals nationwide.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Four out of five principals report that recess has a positive impact on academic achievement.
  • Two-thirds of principals report that students listen better after recess and are more focused in class.
  • Virtually all believe that recess has a positive impact on children’s social development (96 percent) and general well-being (97 percent).

More from the press release:

“Recess offers an extraordinary opportunity to improve a school’s climate,”  said Jill Vialet, founder and president of Playworks, a national nonprofit and grantee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that helps schools improve their recess. “Just a little bit of training for staff can go a long way in helping schools dramatically reduce disciplinary problems at recess and direct more attention to teaching and learning.”

The poll echoes findings from a growing body of clinical research, including a study by Dr. Romina Barros, a professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her groundbreaking study, published in the February 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics, found that children who have more recess time behave better in the classroom and are more likely to learn.

You can read the full press and download the executive summary of the poll’s findings at the Playworks site by clicking here.