CHATTANOOGA, OK (KSWO) - Chattanooga Elementary School will be the first school in Oklahoma to implement an hour's worth of recess in the day thanks to a new project.
Let’s Inspire Innovation 'N Kids or Liink,is program designed to revamp the school system by adding more recess breaks. With the Liink project, students receive four 15 -minute recess breaks each day, instead of just one. For the past year teachers at Chattanooga having been working with the creator of this program with the goal of implementing this year. Today marked the final day of their training.
Doctor Debbie Rhea, director of Liink and Associate Dean at Texas Christian University says it creates the learning platform for achievement in the classroom. She believes the best way to help students learn is by letting them play. Dr. Rhea says research shows children who engage in more physical activity and play do better academically than children who sit in the classroom all day.
"Its reloading the brain, re-booting the brain for more development, neurological firing of neurons and all kinds of things”, said Rhea. “It gets the brain ready for that next set of information that may come at them”, said Rhea.
In 2012 Dr. Rhea traveled to Finland to see how they implemented recess in their classrooms. Research improved test scores and kids were more focused.
"Over there I see them comfortable, relaxed, happy, smiling, playing, playful, socializing”, said Rhea. “They go out into the common areas were kids are and they were responsible about”, said Rhea. “Oh the light turned red, hey stop look both ways”, said Rhea.
Chattanooga Public Schools Superintendent, Jerry Brown says this project will be a learning asset to the classroom.
"This is a way for kids to enjoy school, they know after a certain period of time that they are going to get a break and get to go out and have recess”, said Brown. “It's free play and they are going to be allowed to play without the adults getting in their way”, said Brown. “When they come back in they are going to be refreshed and ready to go”, said Brown.
The main focus for kids is recess, but positive action curriculum is also important. It’s a 15-minute lesson in character development incorporated into the curriculum three times a week.
"It teachers them to problem solve on the playground”, said Brown. “It teaches them conflict resolution and teaches them to be good citizens and how to get along”, said Brown. “Students play together and resolve their problems which will benefit them as they become adults”, said Brown.
The program is designed for kids in Kindergarten through first grade. But students in kindergarten through sixth grade at Chattanooga will use it because they only have one class per grade level.
"It’s self-directed, it's not structured that the teachers are telling them what to do”, said Rhea. “Their able to go out there and do it the way they want to do it and that creates problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, the ability to adapt, to be able to socialize, and do all kinds of things that they are not getting”, Rhea said.