The Power of Play: Promoting Recess in the Richmond Region

Run Club Nancy

Run Club Nancy

With research showing that movement increases students’ focus, attention span, memory, self-esteem, and overall academic performance, it is hard to argue against the benefits of incorporating recess into elementary school students’ daily schedules! But threats to recess are mounting: academic pressure requires young students to spend more time at their desks, lack of equipment and bad weather are barriers to play, and recess is frequently withheld as a punishment in response to behavior issues.

Because of the proven benefits of recess, as well as its known barriers, Greater Richmond Fit4Kids and the Greater Richmond Coalition for Healthy Children have launched a new initiative-“Making the Most of Recess”-to ensure that schools in our region offer daily, physically-active recess for all children!

“Making the Most of Recess” is partnering with elementary schools in the City of Richmond, and Chesterfield and Henrico counties to tackle the barriers that keep kids from playing hard every day during recess. Our team has been meeting with principals, holding focus groups with teachers to gain their valuable perspective on the challenges of recess, and observing students on the playground.  

Based on the data gathered, we’ve developed tailored trainings for schools to impart the latest research on how movement fuels learning, and to share strategies to keep students engaged and active during recess, whether on the playground or indoors.  Best of all, we’ve delivered $750 worth of new recess equipment to each partner school-balls galore, hoola hoops, jump ropes, frisbees, cones, pinnies, flag football sets, and more. Small equipment has been proven to have a big impact on keeping kids active.  Through “Making the Most of Recess” we hope to inspire many more teachers and administrators to hold daily, active recess, so that students can thrive in the classroom and beyond.

To learn more about Making the Most of Recess please contact Bethany at


Bethany Brady Spalding, Greater Richmond Coalition for Healthy Children Coordinator