Friday, March 19, 2010

The end of downtime (among other things)

A New York Times article (“Forget Goofing Around: Recess has a New Boss”) says schools are increasingly hiring recess coaches. Their job is to involve kids in organized games and activities and thus help bring down the number of incidents involving bullying, minor injuries, etc. The coaches are offered by an NGO which has received targeted charitable funding, and have initially been deployed to hundreds of schools serving mostly underprivileged children. While some of the kids (and particularly parents and principals eager to improve their statistics) love this “structured recess,” a few miss the good old days when they could run around and organized their own unsupervised games. This problem will be gradually resolved as in 15 years no kid will recall, or even be able to imagine, what downtime on school grounds looks like.