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Ask any toddler a favorite part of the school day and you’ll probably hear about it during the holidays. Jam-packed school days often provide free play for children এবং and it is short: the average length of vacation is 25 minutes per day. This time can benefit children and their teachers, research shows: children are more attentive, productive and work better cognitively after retirement. Elementary school principals report that vacations have a positive effect on students’ ability to concentrate. The American Academy of Pediatrics even took a position on vacation in 2013, calling it “an important and necessary element of a child’s development” and saying it should not be stopped.
However, even small amounts of vacation are far from guaranteed in schools across the country, as I reported in a story published last week on the practice of vacation closure. On any given day, young children are excluded from their vacation for academic or behavioral reasons and must stay indoors, walk on their laps or sit on the sidewalk to watch their friends play. This is a chronic and common punishment in schools. Up to 86 percent of teachers have refused or reduced their retirement time as a punishment for behavior. While this may work in the short term for some students to adapt quickly, experts say that practice can be harmful in the long run and possibly make behaviors worse.
“When we remove it, we’re not working in our own interests,” said William Massey, an assistant professor at Oregon State University and a researcher who focuses on sports, physical activity and child development. “If your goal is to keep more controlled and employed, productive kids in the classroom, then removing the opportunities to transfer them is the worst way for you to do it.”
Part of the challenge in curbing this practice is that teachers may not have the support to introduce some alternative methods that play the role of advocates and child development experts say that leisure should be used in closed space. Many schools do not have social workers, counselors and other resources that can help teachers find the root cause of difficult behavior. And at a state level, vacation-related laws and policies vary widely and often have gaps that children still miss:
- A handful of states have laws that set a minimum number of minutes per day or week for vacation, but those laws may not specify vacation restrictions. Parents in a state with a mandate told me that children were allowed to take leave even after reaching that minimum time.
- About one-third of states require a minimum amount of physical activity per day or per week for elementary students, but may not specifically mention vacations. The duration of that physical activity can be filled through leisure, but also through physical education or other forms of movement that do not offer children gain through unorganized, free play.
- Some state agencies or committees offer schools guidelines on “best practices” around holiday policies, but refrain from establishing a requirement, effectively leaving it to district or even individual schools.
- According to Hatchinger’s review of data collected by the King County Play Equity Coalition, nine states do not speak of vacations through any formal laws, guidelines or policies.
States also differ greatly in addressing leisure use as punishment:
- A handful of states require that physical activity should not be banned as a punishment, which may include leisure and physical education.
- Some states retain vacations, some states with stronger language than others. While Illinois law states that all public schools must prohibit playtime as a punitive or punitive measure (except when a student’s participation becomes an immediate threat to someone’s safety), Rhode Island law states that teachers must make an “honest trust effort.” . Don’t take time off. New Jersey law states that schools cannot withhold holidays more than twice per week and only for violating a district’s student code of conduct.
In the absence of state policy, some districts have taken it upon themselves to set their own rules around holidays, although three such districts – Minneapolis, Minnesota; Austin, Texas; And Wichita, Kansas – show enforcement can be weak. Some districts still leave space for vacations. In Wichita, for example, district policy states that physical activity should not be used or stopped “on a regular basis”.
There are also school districts that identify retention of holidays in their formal discipline policy as a possible or compelling consequence of various behaviors. These districts often publish these results publicly in student handbooks. When that policy is in place, there is little recourse for parents unless the school or district adopts a new policy, or enacts a state law. (Research shows that the law, rather than district policy, makes the biggest difference in vacation protection.)
Jessica, a Kentucky parent who spoke on condition of anonymity because she feared school officials would retaliate against her and her child, tried last year to organize fellow parents to support a law that would make removal illegal in that state. . Leave for punitive reasons. He has made little progress. In the district where Jessica’s son joins, “school (lunch / leisure) retention” has been used as an intervention, including “back talk”, regular delays, or failure to follow a “reasonable request” from someone. Will be used for many behaviors. Teacher or school official.
Jessica’s son, who has a sensory processing disorder, said his vacations in kindergarten and first grade were often cut short for things like falling off his seat, fidgeting or playing with pencils. Instead of playing, he had to sit on a bench next to the teacher and watch his classmates.
Jessica said the punishment affected her son, now 8 years old, and her self-image. Jessica said, “She would come home often upset.” She told me, “They don’t let me play on vacation because I’m bad. I’m a bad kid.” Helped push for special education papers.
But Jessica’s son had nothing to do with the teachers’ punishment. There is no vacation protection law in Kentucky. A 2015 state law report found that teachers at two-thirds of Kentucky schools “usually take time off” for behavior or absentee work. In 2016, in response to that report, the Kentucky Department of Education issued guidelines that allow schools to count holidays as educational time under certain conditions. If this is calculated as such, the leave cannot be withheld as a penalty. Otherwise, it may be retained “at the discretion of the district or school.”
Although the state allows vacation retention, Kentucky’s education commissioner, Jason E. Glass, in a statement in the Hatchinger report, said he did not recommend postponing the leave to punish students, noting that it could be “reactive, which leads to more problems with student behavior.”
Despite her efforts to break the habit, Jessica found out this spring that her son, now a third-grader, was missing out on some of her vacations again and again. He sympathizes with the need for teachers to apply the rules through results, but he does not agree with the holiday punishment.
Teachers need more “modern alternatives,” he said. “It’s completely the opposite of punishing a child who can’t stand still by taking them away while they’re moving. It’s just ridiculous. “
Vacation guides are produced by this story about Hatchinger report, A non-profit, independent news organization focusing on inequality and innovation in education. For registration Hatchinger’s newsletter.