District News

From the Superintendent's Desk
Posted on 10/03/2018
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#RecessRocksinRI celebrates play as Governor Gina Raimondo proclaims October 3 Rhode Island Recess Day 2018

State raises awareness of the role of physical activity through statewide Recess Day

 PROVIDENCE, RI (October 3, 2018) – Recognizing the importance of physical activity and safe and inclusive play during the school day, Governor Gina Raimondo today declared October 3 as Rhode Island Recess Day 2018.

 The gubernatorial proclamation underscores the important role physical activity plays in a child’s overall health and well-being. In 2016 state lawmakers passed a bill requiring at least 20 minutes of recess per day in all Rhode Island elementary schools. The subsequent formation of #RecessRocksinRI aimed to change school culture and improve the health of children by providing training to help leverage the power of safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), Playworks New England and the Rhode Island Healthy Schools Coalition (RIHSC) have worked together to bring #RecessRocksinRI to 55 schools across the state, serving 21,502 students. This event continues to underscore the value that Rhode Island is placing on the crucial role of play.

 “With this proclamation, Rhode Island continues to recognize the importance of extending high-quality play time to all children across the state in hopes of achieving healthy development for children across our state,” said Governor Raimondo. “Research has shown that recess is an important component of childhood development and Rhode Island is pleased to lead the way and making recognition of recess’ benefits a priority.”

 According to a 2009 Pediatrics study, a daily break of 15 minutes or more in the school day may play a role in improving learning, social development, and health in elementary school children. Children who receive more recess are likely to learn more than those who don’t, as they experiment with creativity and imagination and learn how to interact socially. The playtime allows children to make decisions, develop rules and release energy and stress which leads to competencies in cooperation, conflict resolution, respect for rules, communication and self-regulation.

  “Recess has a positive impact, not only on the physical health of Rhode Island’s children, but also on their social relationships, academic success, and emotional well-being,” said Kim Keck, president and CEO of BCBSRI. “The emphasis on physical fitness encourages students to develop positive habits that lead to a lifetime of staying active and a healthier Rhode Island for years to come.”



“Playworks New England is proud to partner with Blue Cross and RIHSC to lead the recess revolution one initiative at a time,” said Jonathan Gay, executive director of Playworks New England. “Supporting Recess Day is just one way #RecessRocksinRI aims to provide every child the opportunity to join in play and build essential social and physical skills.”


In honor of Rhode Island Recess Day 2018, school superintendents and Governor Raimondo urge residents to take time to learn about the importance of play during school and within the community. Providing children with recess time exposes them to physical growth and development including maintaining a healthy weight, aiding in the prevention of obesity, high blood pressure and Type II Diabetes.


The Council on Physical Education for Children claims that in addition to increasing physical wellness and childhood development, recess plays an essential role in the total educational experience for elementary aged children. Studies have found that students who do not participate in recess may have trouble concentrating on specific tasks in the classroom due to restlessness and being easily distracted or stressed.


“We are committed to providing students the opportunity to express both their physical and emotional energy in a safe and freeing environment,” said Dr. Patrick McGee, superintendent of Woonsocket Public Schools. “Free play allows us to educate children holistically with regular physical activity, constant communication among peers, and the chance to develop life-long relationship-building skills.”


Powered by Playworks, the #RecessRocksinRI initiative has now reached 55 schools across the state, serving 21,502 students. As a team, #RecessRocksinRI aims to change school culture and improve the health of children by leveraging safe, fun, and healthy play at school every day. In 2019, BCBSRI has committed to increasing the number of schools to 80 in conjunction with the company’s 80th anniversary.