All Ages at Recess: Here's Why Kids Benefit From Mixed Aged Recess by Megan Hansen
Recess is crucial for child development and academic achievement, as it allows kids to use their creativity while developing their imaginations, dexterity, social and cognitive strengths. It is an important time for children to develop performance skills in the areas of emotional regulation, social skills as well as a chance to increase their strength and motor skills. Providing a same-grade recess lends itself to:
A mixed-age recess can provide a therapeutic environment to enhance:
- conflict resolution
- negotiating skills
All of these things are critical skills needed to succeed in elementary school. In a heterogeneous recess the older children look out for the younger, teaching them how to play new games and share. They learn to acknowledge their own skills without bragging and take satisfaction in helping the younger peer acquire a new skill. While the younger children have the opportunity to strengthen their motor skills and emotions as they look to emulate their older friends.
A mixed-age recess can provide an environment in which to teach children compassion and understanding of a behavior they themselves recently had and reflect on their own development preparing them for when they will be the older one in the group. Ultimately, the overall goal will be for children to be respectful and caring of one another, creating an environment that all can capitalize on the differences in experience, knowledge and varying abilities.