Recess for High School Students

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, September 11, 1911: Got hit by a stick this afternoon at recess in the region of my left eye. It did hurt a little bit for awhile. It is a little bit sore now.

If I use my imagination I can almost see 16-year-old Grandma, her 6-year brother Jimmie, and the other students playing on the grass outside the old McEwensville School building.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I’m amazed that high school students had recess in 1911. The high school and elementary school at McEwensville shared the same building.  Apparently the entire building had recess.

Some things are better now than a 100 years ago—but I’d argue that recess for high school students is an example of something at was better a hundred years ago.

Today high school students don’t have recess. And, obesity is an issue. At the high school my children attended I think that they only have two semesters of physical education during the entire four-year program.

3 Responses

  1. This is interesting, in my part of the world secondary school (high school) has recess. There’s one in the morning for about 20 minutes on average usually called morning tea then one at midday/afternoon which is called lunch. Generally at morning tea and lunch you’d have to be outside though I did go to one secondary school when we were allowed inside if we had permission from the teacher whose classroom it was. If the weather was bad in primary school then kids would take recess in their classrooms supervisied with the teacher but in most secondary schools I went to we’d have to make do with verandas and corridors to shelter from the rain.

    • It’s interesting that secondary students get recess in some other countries. It probably is healthy for the teens to be able to get out and get a little exercise within the school day.

      • To be honest, as older teens we didn’t get much exercise at recess! We just sat around and ate and gossiped and caught up on homework (aka copied from outr friends because recess was too short to do a proper job of homework) we hadn’t done the night before and was due next period.
        Sometimes we would get up a game though!
        Some of my fondest memories of my last few years of school are of recess, picking flowers and decorating each other’s hair or getting semi-told off for having a water fight when we were too old for that behaviour, but not really getting in trouble because the teacher probably wanted to join in! lol.

        At least we were out in the fresh air though. Recess is considered necessiary here as it’s believed students need a mental break from learning to help them concentrate better. Our teachers would tell us to take ten minutes break for every hour of study we did at home and they encouraged us to go for a short walk outside or even hang out the wasing, as long as it got us away from our desk and in the fresh air and moving about.

        I never consiered that some schools around the would wouldn’t have recess of some sort! Which is strange because I know schools in America are very very different to what I grew up with but I just assumed that part was the same! Boy I love learning new things, even trivial ones!

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