All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, say researchers. And Jack will concentrate better with some down time in the natural world. A Pediatrics study found children 8 and 9 years old behaved better in class if they had more than 15 minutes of recess a day. From the New York Times:
Although disadvantaged children were more likely to be denied recess, the association between better behavior and recess time held up even after researchers controlled for a number of variables, including sex, ethnicity, public or private school and class size.
Thirty percent of elementary students have little or no daily recess time, the study found.
A small study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder last year found that walks outdoors appeared to improve scores on tests of attention and concentration. Notably, children who took walks in natural settings did better than those who walked in urban areas, according to the report, published online in August in The Journal of Attention Disorders. The researchers found that a dose of nature worked as well as a dose of medication to improve concentration, or even better.
I visited two schools that let children with autism or hyperactivity issues take an exercise break to calm themselves.