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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: October 16, 2019 02:24 PM
From: Representative Danielle Friel Otten
To: All House members
Subject: School Free-Play Recess and Lunch Periods
Recess is an essential part of a student’s school experience that contributes to a child’s growth and development. Providing a regular period of unstructured time for physical activity and play gives children a necessary break for optimizing their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Children who participate in recess have improved memory and concentration skills, and those who have at least 15 minutes of recess a day display less disruptive classroom behavior.

Despite the significant benefits of recess, schools in Pennsylvania are not required to provide a specific number of hours for daily free-play recess and lunch periods. Furthermore, there are no restrictions on schools making a child forfeit their recess or lunch periods for punishment, extra credit, testing, or to make up for missed work.

My legislation would require schools to provide students in elementary grades with at least 40 minutes of free-play recess each day and to provide students in secondary grades with at least 20 minutes each day, in addition to a minimum of 30 minutes of lunch daily for all students. Importantly, a school would not be able to replace these break periods with additional coursework or withhold it for disciplinary reasons.

This legislation will support our children’s social and emotional development and ensure that they have the opportunity to be physically active and interact with others. I hope you join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1949