Staff at a Bruderheim elementary school are noticing some positive changes in student behaviour after making an innovative change to the recess schedule.

Kids at Bruderheim School, home to about 130 kindergarten to Grade 6 students, now get outside for some fresh air and exercise four times a day. The students spend no more than an hour in the classroom between each 15-minute break.
 
The new schedule aims to make sure children are getting the most out of their time in the classroom.
 
“Research shows students benefit from getting up at regular intervals and elevating their heart rates,” said Bruderheim School principal Paul McKay. “It improves their ability to remain focused while in class and makes them more receptive to information.”
 
According to Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS), staff at the school have been working on improving student wellness and self-regulation – students are taught to monitor their own feelings and attention spans and let teachers know when they need to recharge.
 
The first of the school day’s four scheduled recess times bring teachers outside to lead lessons and activities. Teachers are not directly involved in the remaining breaks.
 
“It’s fun because you get to play and learn new games,” Grade 2 student Hunter said. “And when I’m back in class I still feel happy.”
 
Teachers say they are seeing more focus and engagement in the classroom, with students making fewer requests to step out to refocus their thoughts.
 
“My best measure of the success so far is that we have a happy and healthy student body,” McKay said. “We’ve worked hard to give students what they need to succeed, and to take away all the excuses they might have for not participating fully in class.”

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