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On the forefront of a child’s development we most often find their social and emotional skills at an immediate influence. School is a large jump for many students, and their periods of recess activity have been found to be even more influential than their time in their classrooms. Socially, the free time provided during recess can facilitate the cultivation of new relationships by the children with their classmates. These relationships lead to the development of valuable communication skills and coping mechanisms. Take for example a group of children trying to organize a kickball game. First they must decide between themselves which people will be the captains, hence the development of their negotiation skills. Then they must choose which children will be on each team; creating the foundation of their cooperation skills, and problem solving abilities. Taking turns between kickers and outfielders is a prime example of sharing, as well as perseverance when someone gets tagged out and self control when someone gets upset about a decision. It has been seen that these skills, which can be perfected over the duration of the child’s schooling, last for years past their graduation into higher education levels as well as the outside world. Learning to cope with problems and communicate when an issue arises are two social skills which can be continuously put into action throughout one’s lifetime. Recess is a period of time wherein a child is given the freedom to choose; and even when the child doesn’t participate in large group games they are still able to develop emotionally and socially. They can hopscotch and hula hoop; forming smaller and closer friendships with their counterparts. They have the ability to watch the kickball game; all due to the fact that recess gives the child the ability to chose to be themselves freely unlike in a classroom where the teacher makes most of the decisions. (Murray, Robert It is not to say that social and emotional skill aren’t developed in the classroom; we see children learn to understand authority through the teacher as well as when and where play is appropriate. Instead it can be said that the skills learned through free play create the foundation upon all other skills can be based.


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