A petition to return recess to the Lumberton Intermediate School where none currently exists has been circulating for a week.
As of Monday morning, Nov. 5, nearly 750 signatories shared their support for the online request at www.change.org/p/lumberton.
It started with a simple question by Megan Kuehne’s daughter upon arriving at the school.
“Where’s the playground, Mom?” Keuhne said, newly settled in Texas from Utah.
Recess is a big part of the school day in the West explained Kuehne, so the absence of a playground for her 4th-grade daughter seemed unusual.
Speaking with her child’s teacher, Kuehne learned that recess “was done away with because it didn’t fit the schedule, so teachers just try to take them out when they can.”
That schedule amounts to almost never given that mandated text schedules and building expansion had removed the playground altogether.
Kuehne and other concerned parents met with Lumberton Intermediate School Principal Paige Wing and her staff.
The meeting resulted in Recess Buckets or buckets filled with items like cards, chalk, and balls to be used in recess time as allowed by teachers.
“Several parent volunteers are already working on this idea in conjunction with homeroom teachers,” Gretchen Scoggins, Coordinator for Special Programs and Communications stated.
No one disputes the positive impact recess has on childhood development, it’s more a matter of making time to play.
Scoggins notes that the question of adjusting the scheduled time for recess has been added as an agenda item on the Site Based Decision Making Team meeting on for Friday, Nov. 9.
In the meantime, Kuehne says that the Recess Buckets have had various application.
She said that a more reliable solution is needed or something more than depending on teachers’ schedules and academic instruction.
Feeling somewhat marginalized, Kuehne says that without a scheduled recess option in the offering, a petition was the next step to take before the Lumberton ISD Board.
“Even if you get a bond (to build a playground) that’s three to six years and, meanwhile, the kids aren’t getting anything,” she said.
She and other parents plan to present the signed petition at the next board meeting on Nov. 8.
The benefits of recess for school-age children are widely known, helping “cognitively, mentally, socially, emotionally, and physically,” states the petition.
Lumberton Intermediate School 4th graders receive Physical Education 225 minutes per week, according to Scoggins, exceeding state guidelines.
Their PE instruction allows for 45 minutes per day of scheduled activity which Kuehne believes could be shared, in part, with recess play.
Lumberton is an exception to the area as Buna, Beaumont, and Sour Lake were able to find time in their schedules for recess she says.