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Bills would guarantee young school children enjoy recess

September 1, 2019

BOSTON (AP) — As the new school year begins around Massachusetts, some lawmakers want to assure that children don’t miss out on recess.

Legislation scheduled to be heard on Wednesday by the Legislature’s Education Committee would require all public school students in kindergarten through fifth grade to receive at least 20 consecutive minutes of “supervised, safe and unstructured free-play recess” during each school day.

The bill co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Marjorie Decker, of Cambridge, and Democratic Sen. Michael Rush, of Boston, would also prohibit the state from increasing total elementary school time to provide for required recess periods.

Backers say children benefit socially and physically from unstructured recess and there appears to be at least some bipartisan agreement: Republican Reps. Paul Frost, of Auburn and Bradford Hill, of Ipswich introduced similar proposals.

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