By Guillermo Gomez, vice president of urban affairs
Yesterday, Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard announced that the district will mandate recess in the 2012 school year.
This not only represents a victory for children across the city, but also a milestone for Parents United for Healthy Schools!
Since 2006, the parent-led group has provided a voice for parents, educators, and community advocate determined to create a culture of health and wellness in the school environment. Bringing back recess was a main objective of Parents United in addressing health disparities such as childhood obesity.
In 2009, Parents United submitted more than 4,000 petitions in support of recess and called for the creation of the Recess Task Force. Together with the district, we put together the Recess Development Plan, which is currently being used to transition physical activity into the school day.
Local support for recess mirrors national sentiment.
Recess provides children with the necessary physical activity to reduce childhood obesity and stimulates cognitive and emotional abilities. Research continues to reinforce how healthy, active children are better prepared to learn and succeed.
The hard work of parents, health and wellness advocates, and our schools continues to amaze me. This victory doesn't mean our work is done. Parents can get involved in by joining their local school review committee:
- Facilitate and create opportunities to discuss school wellness. You can review the Chicago Public Schools wellness policy here.
- Engage other parents by working with your local school council, school wellness committee, and recess committee.
- Volunteer your time to support recess and wellness.
I applaud Chicago Public Schools in making health and wellness a priority.
You can read the Spanish version of the Chicago Public Schools wellness policy here.
To learn more about the Parent Leadership Institute and read about last year’s institute, check out the Parents United for Healthy Schools section of HSC’s blog.
You can read exercise and recess updates on our blog.