Controversial Structured Recess Discontinued
Parents spoke out against program last week.
A controversial recess program at the Martha B. Day School that featured structured recess for two out of five days each week has been overturned coming off the heels of parents voicing concern at last Tuesday’s Bloomingdale Board of Education meeting.
The program, which was devised by Principal Cheryl Mallen and the school’s physical education department, featured structured, supervised activities and games, such as "Red light-Green light," hula hoops, "Switcheroo" and "Spud" in assigned groups.
“They initiated a new playground program (in November) to see if it could help eliminate some of the little first aid problems that came up. It wasn’t as organized when you had the free play and they wanted to prevent any minor little problems that were coming up,” said Interim Superintendent of Schools Terrance Brennan. “The parents really wanted the free play, which is what we heard at the (board of education) meeting. We want to listen to the community, so I had a long chat with Cheryl and they’re going to change it. They’re going to go back to the free play.”
Mallen confirmed that the program has been discontinued but declined to comment further.
Brennan stated on Monday that the district is looking out for the wants and needs of the entire community, most importantly, those of the district’s students and parents.
“We try to listen to the community. We’re here for them and we really want to give them what they want, as long as it fits in proper educational processes and structure and it’s good for the kids,” said Brennan. “This is a win-win. If that’s what they want, let’s give it to them. We listened to them and let them know that we care what they say, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Brennan remained optimistic that the move back to five days of free recess at the school will make everyone involved happy in the long run.
“We want to do the right thing by kids and if parents want the free play, that’s what they should have,” said Brennan. “Let’s hope that it works the best for everyone’s interests. I think it will.”