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Wellness Policy-Elementary

Original post made by Concerned Parent, Downtown, on Jan 18, 2011

Has anyone heard about the "Wellness policy" that is being brought to the Board for review/adoption next Tuesday? Apparently there is a group that is concerned about our children's "wellness" related to the nations problem with children being overweight.
This group wants to make it so kids MUST go out to recess and exercise. Sounds good in theory..........however I have real concerns.

1) This policy also could mean that kids cannot "choose" to go to the library, read a book, help a teacher, get extra help by their choice..... My youngest daugter has really struggled socially and has been the victim of some very mean girls on the unstructured playgroud. Despite adult intervention which I have is a tough place to be. She has finally found a small group of friends that go to the library or some days goes to help her K teacher that she was close with. If they take that away she will be devastated.

2) Teachers will no longer be able to have kids stay in at recess (possibly a "pro" as I do feel that kids do need those breaks). However my oldest child's SOLE motivation to finish HW and get things done is so that he won't have to stay in.....what happens when that is gone?

I just think that there is more to "wellness" than forcing kids to be on the playground when recess is a very social scene and hard for many kids.

Anyone else have thoughts?

Comments (14)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Jan 19, 2011 at 1:08 am

Recess is a time for children to play. It should not be used as a tool for punishing children by having them "benched" so they can't participate in recess. And it should not be used as a time period where kids are forced to stay in to do classwork because the teacher did not plan adequately and gave the kids too much work to do.

Teachers and any employee in the workforce get breaks during the day. Children deserve them too.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 8:42 am

I think it is a good policy. When one of my children was in elementary, the teacher would punish the class if they did not behave, by letting them out late for lunch recess. By the time kids made it to the cafeteria, most of the food was gone (the entrees), they had little time to eat and it was awful.

I like this policy, and besides, we do have an obesity problem in the US, and Pleasanton is not immune to it.

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Posted by Another Parent
a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jan 19, 2011 at 8:44 am


While that may be true. I have to agree with "Concerned Parent", there needs to be flexibility in the teacher's and children's choice of what to do. My son too was bullied at recess and had trouble getting homework done - NOT because of the teacher's inability to plan, but his motivation. When he was allowed to be a "helper" to one of his former teachers during recess, it motivated him to get the homework done. By requiring all students to be out on the playground we are taking away freedom of choice (kind of like the governments are) and consideration for individual needs.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 8:45 am

As for the kids who find it hard to go to recess because of the social aspect: all the more reason to make them go to recess. You cannot allow a child to withdraw and read a book as an escape, he/she should learn how to socialize.

Instead of taking recess from them: create some organized activities at recess (basketball, etc) and engage the shy students. Yard duties, parent volunteers could help with this effort.

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Posted by Parent of 3
a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

I think that kids should be able to go out and recess not taken away from them. This is a good thing and kids need a break--that is why there is recess.

The choice of what kids do should be theirs though......
Recess means kids take that break should be up to them. I don't see anyone past the 5th grade being FORCED to play tetherball or wallball during their breaks. SOme people socialize on breaks, some people may exercise and stretchm, some people want to be alone....... If a child wants to socialize with a former teacher or and they have a connection....let them. It is THEIR recess. No one tells middle schools, high schoolers, or adults what they HAVE to do on their breaks.

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Posted by Parent of 2
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jan 19, 2011 at 9:26 am

Is there any part of a child's life under the age of 10 that isn't micromanaged by adults?? Let the kids do what they want on their recesses.....geesshh! Don't keep them in....and let them pick...give them a chance to run around, relax, play or do whatever they want....

The kids have mandated PE......who cares how they spend their recess.

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:32 am

Fighting obesity? Why not start by excluding those fatty and unhealthy food like pizza, burger, and nuggets from the lunch menu? That alone will lower the fat intake and help our children develop a healthy eating habit. No amount of exercise can help if we keep feeding our kids fatty junk.

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Posted by Maja7
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 20, 2011 at 11:00 am

Just another example of the government "knowing" better than us the parents how to raise our child/children.

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Posted by Wll
a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Jan 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Those "fatty" foods at lunch are all under a certain calorie count, a move made by the district to encourage our children to eat healthier. If you have a problem with them, try making your child lunch.

Many parents try to excuse their child from P.E. and say that their once a week soccer practice is enough exercise. I guarantee if a new study came out about child obesity in California, there would be a call on the boards for the district to add a program to the schools.

As usual, the district has to take over where parents are failing.

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Posted by Teacher
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I'm curious as to who has really taught in a public school classroom that has commented on this board. Recess is a wonderful time for all children to get out, run around and socialize. However, recess shouldn't be seen as a right. It is mandated that all students get X amount of time in physical education, which includes socialization skills. I personally do not see anything wrong with keeping a student in from recess that refuses to turn in work, even when the work has been differentiated. There are students who go home and plop in front of the television or computer and never get class work done. Teachers should not be micro-managers, but what is to be done with these students? I'm not talking about middle school or high school students, elementary students. When certain aspects of a child's education become in danger, certain events have to be cut.

What I have done is excuse the student or students for 5 to 8 minutes. They have enough time to go to the bathroom, get water, eat a snack, and then come back to work on the assignments they haven't turned in. Let me add- these are students who habitually do not turn in work. Some parents really do have this mentality that schools should are serving them. Instead, parents need to understand that it's a dual relationship.

FYI: An amazing teacher takes very little time during the day to sit around. Most work through recess breaks, eat 10/15 minutes during lunch, work the rest of the lunch, and then stay for 1 hour+ after the kids go home- this is on top of arriving at school well before students set foot on campus. And understand, this isn't about teachers being inadequate with their jobs. It's because there is very little time in the short school day to cover everything that is required.

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Posted by bewildered
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Don't we have enough to think about and enough problems! I do not think that recess or lunch should be taken away as punishment. I do agree that unstructured time can be stressful and uncomfortable for some kids. It is their free time! Leave them alone and let them choose what they want to do! Read, Play wall ball, visit a teacher who can comfort them when they are having problems with bullies.

Can't they choose how to relax in a place where they feel safe! Walnut Grove has other options at recess, room for crafts or a comfortable place to get out of the sun and read,. Some children do not enjoy unstructured play which can cause some to feel left out and intimidated.

Back off helicopter parents! Give the kids a break!

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Posted by bewildered
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I think if a student is habitually missing work the parents and principle should be involved. May be the child has problems at home, perhaps they have a mild learning difference and they are missing instructions. keeping them in regularly is unkind especially in elementary school. Let them take a break, keeping them in longer except for a few occasions seems wrong and maybe counter productive.

Most jobs entail before and after prep. I have never had a job for which I did not do work, study some prep outside of working hours. Thanks to all the excellent teachers who put extra time in. But lets not forget that we are talking about children who can not be expected to stay on task as long as adults. If a child is struggling don't assume that they are plopping themselves on the couch and take away their recess. Investigate and let the parents and other school personal who can support the child know!

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Posted by bewildered
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 11:51 pm

By the way many teachers give TOO MUCH HOMEWORK! I am sure it is meant to help but it is often too time consuming and frankly sometimes just busy work.

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Posted by bewildered
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2011 at 11:56 pm

I almost forgot. Fat especially the good fats are necessary for excellent brain development. I do not give my kids low fat anything. They are not over weight and are athletic. We focus too much on fat but refined sugar is the real enemy in the American diet.. Many other cultures have very high fat foods, but less sugar. Look at Europe. The school lunches could be better but that would cost money. They are okay and have a salad bar and lots of okay choices.

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