Lower School students receive additional recess time in their daily schedule in 2019-20.
New Lower School Head Tara Montague cites the research in John J. Ratey’s Spark, which demonstrates scientific ties between exercise and brain development, as one reason behind the decision.
In planning for the school year with Lower School Deans Stevie Brown and Steve Micciche, Montague realized the previous schedule had three back-to-back morning classes followed by one short recess. Knowing that most brains are able to focus for extended periods in the morning, Montague and her colleagues reduced the three classes to two longer periods devoted to core academic subjects and created an extended recess block.
Using neuroscience as a guide, the updated Lower School schedule aligns with best practices in boys’ education and sets the stage for deeper learning, stress reduction, and positive social interactions.
“We know that bodies in motion invigorate the brain and fuel it to make connections and retain information,” she explained. The extended recess time and the opportunity to run between classes in separate buildings on campus—along with daily sports—means the Landon Lower School boys get meaningful time to move around.
In addition, researchers have linked the importance of free play with social-emotional health and development in children. Problem solving, relaxing the mind, and laughter all fuel the brain to more easily tackle challenges in schoolwork.