Seattle Teachers Want At Least 45 Minutes Of Recess | KUOW News and Information

Seattle Teachers Want At Least 45 Minutes Of Recess

Aug 28, 2015

Last year, a KUOW investigation found that recess has been cut back at many Seattle schools – especially in low-income neighborhoods.

As KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld reports, now the teachers’ union is asking the district to require a minimum 45 minutes of recess in all elementary schools.


“What do we want?”


“When do we want it?”


Teachers, parents and students gathered in the playground of Leschi Elementary School Thursday to call for the district to change its recess policy.

Right now, principals can schedule as much – or as little – recess as they like.

Leschi 4th & 5th-grade teacher Michael Tamayo told the crowd that isn’t right.

He’s helping the union bargain its new contract with the district.

Michael Tamayo: “No matter where you live, where you go to school, every single child should have an equal amount of recess all across the city. Period.”

Eight-year-old Hazel Engstrom watched the rally with crossed arms and a frown.

In kindergarten at Salmon Bay K-8, she had three recess periods a day.

Now, she only has two – and she says they’re too short.

Hazel Engstrom: “Like if you play a game of soccer or something like that, you’ll have to stop in between like 10 minutes of starting.”

A KUOW investigation last year found 11 Seattle elementary schools that offer 20 minutes or less of recess all day.

That’s despite research that shows kids need to take regular breaks and play in order to focus in the classroom.

The teachers’ union says the district has turned down its proposal to require at least 45 minutes of recess.

But the union hasn’t given up.

The union vice-president said Seattle may be the first major district in the country to try to bargain a minimum amount of recess.