Longer recess bill heads to Va. governor’s desk

2018 General Assembly

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The amount of time your child spends on the playground at school could be going up, thanks in part to a persistent group of moms at the State Capitol.

“We wanted to be able to have our kids come home happy and refreshed from the day,” said Barbara Larrimore. “Not so worn down from sitting at their desk and not being able to process the information they were taking in.”

Larrimore started the More Recess for Virginians group after she discovered 15 minutes of play wasn’t enough for her son in kindergarten.

Other moms, like Mariel Ramirez-Holkon, noticed the same thing.

“We started seeing some changes in behavior,” said Ramirez-Holkon.

She said her son, now 7, was getting 20 minutes of recess at the time.

“It’s not right for them to be in such a long day having such a short time of unstructured play,” she said.

Legislation just passed the House and the Senate that would allow recess time to be counted as instructional time.

The change would give public schools in Virginia the flexibility to offer students more time on the playground.

The moms and lawmakers behind it believe it’ll help with physical activity and focus.

“Trying to make sure that our kids have that time to not only exercise their brains but exercise their bodies and their hearts and relationships is why this became a movement people could get behind,” said Larrimore.

Del. Karrie Delaney (D-Fairfax) introduced HB1419. Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) introduced SB273.

The legislation now heads to the governor’s desk for his stamp of approval.

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