Skip To Main Content

Outdoor Recess Guidelines

Pre Kindergarten - 6th Grade

According to the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play, recess responds to children’s social, emotional, cognitive, intellectual, and physical needs. The organization’s website cites the following benefits of recess:

  • Physical activity is essential for the healthy growth and development of children
  • Recess can serve as an outlet for reducing or lowering children’s anxiety
  • Traditional recess activities encourage children to take turns, negotiate, or modify rules and interact cooperatively.

Therefore, every attempt will be made to provide children with a daily outdoor recess (approx. 20-30 minutes) as per the following guidelines:

Weather Conditions

Students will play outdoors when:

  • Temperatures are above 25° with consideration given to wind chill factor
  • There is light precipitation (e.g. snow flurries, drizzle)
  • Snow is on the ground, depending upon how different play areas are affected -
    • Tappan Hill – Students will go out every day
    • John Paulding - Students will go for a walk if the playground is not safely accessible. If students have been indoors for several days during a given week, they will have outdoor recess on Fridays.
    • W. L. Morse - Students will play outdoors in designated plowed areas
    • Washington Irving - Students will play outdoors in designated plowed areas.

Playground/Field Conditions

Students will be permitted to use playground equipment, fields, and asphalt play areas when conditions are suitable for safe play. Safety considerations include:

  • Equipment that is dry and ice free
  • Fields that are not muddy or icy and asphalt play areas that are not icy
  • Snow that is not deep enough to inhibit students walking/running

It is important that all children be able to participate in outdoor recess. Appropriate clothing for outdoor play is essential. Parents must be certain that children come to school with warm jackets, hats and gloves in cold weather and boots and snow pants when it is snowing or
there is snow on the ground.

Download Guide