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Commentary Detail

Play and Programming Make a Difference in Student Outcomes
Commentary by: Susan Uchitelle
Aired February 15, 2010

Schooling is complex. There are no simple solutions to academic success. Often it takes creativity, ingenuity and trial and error to find the right combination of programming that works. And every situation presents its own set of challenges.

Recently a school in New Jersey discovered that the simple act of the timing of recess made a significant difference in both children’s behavior and health. By having recess before lunch, rather than the usual after lunch recess which most schools do, the New Jersey school discovered that its children had more time to eat, ate more, did not rush through lunch to get on the playground, wasted less food and were healthier. They were calmer at lunch, and cooled down after exercising. A simple idea, yes, but it did involve a change in scheduling.

Sometimes the easiest of changes can make an enormous difference for children if educators are willing to switch and not give negative reasons for change such as the challenge of putting coats away, and finding bathroom time.

We all want children to succeed but often as adults we are not willing to face the inconvenience of doing something differently, thus upsetting the status quo.

We need to create schedules that work for children - many schools have managed to do just that. Successfully educating children is so vital for our future and that calls for focusing on new ideas and form new structures that may prove to be successful for our children.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Susan Uchitelle

Susan Uchitelle


Susan Uchitelle is a consultant for the Voluntary Interdistrict Coordinating Council.

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