I've been scouring the Internet for anything on play and also to find out if Chinese kids still get recess. Our schoolboard justified the elimination of morning recess by claiming that kids in China do not get recess and there is more focus on academics than in the U.S. At first glance the China Rises Blog entry by Tim Johnson (Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers) appears to support this until you to read the comments to his statement!
Thanks to fears instilled by the Business Roundtable that the U.S. as a country will lose out to "sleeping giants" like China and India, children now suffer under the demands of NCLB. Recess is becoming a thing of the past. Our public schools only offer 20 minutes of outdoor play when it's lunchtime.
Guess what kids prefer? They choose recess over eating their lunch. Animals in labs make an identical choice according to Marc Bekoff, professor of Biology who is also an advocate for play as are many other national experts.
Of note is especially the research by Dr. Stuart Brown who found that there is a strong undeniable correlation between lack of play in childhood and adult criminal behavior. Read the Charles Whitman Case.
Research by Bonnie Gordon about "Cultural Comparisons of Schooling" argues that opportunity for socialization of young children, and getting attention from the teacher sets kids up for future learning.
Absence of that could very well be the reason for the achievement gap between American kids and some Asian countries. American kindergarten focuses on academics, now thanks to NCLB, even more than ever before!
Playtime has even been eliminated from our local public kindergartens! And now DIBELS is even administered in preschools. Next, play will be eliminated there as well!