Deseret News reports, “For every 45 minutes in a Finnish classroom, students get a 15-minute break.” An American teacher who started teaching in Finland was surprised by how much more attentive students were after having a recess break after every hour of instruction. When he started teaching in Finland, he first created longer blocks of class time with a longer break later in the day. However, a fifth-grader objected, “I need my 75 minutes of recess.”
Although Walker was providing the same amount of recess, he decided to revise the schedule, putting breaks at the end of each hour.
The difference in the classroom was immediate. No more zombies. Students returned from breaks with energy and better focus. They did more with less time. They enjoyed it more. Walker was a convert.
Olga Jarret, a retired education professor at Georgia State University, has written a white paper for the U.S. Play Coalition noting that there are multiple studies that show “improved focus and classroom behavior, including less fidgeting and hyperactivity and more participation in class discussion after recess.”