Brain break: How the Junior High is getting their own form of recess


Kim Nelson

Seventh grader Avyn Nelson smiling while climbing a rock wall in Chicago, Illinois

Morgan Ramirez, Photo Manager

In the Pleasant Valley School District, the Junior High School is the only school that does not give the kids a chance to go outside during lunch. The administration decided that there was a need for change.  

The need for a break during the school day is very important, especially for young children who have developing brains. The majority of schools in the United States have some sort of recess built into their day. 

Research shows that students perform better on their schoolwork if they are not just hard at work all day long. Students at the Junior High are in school from 7:35 a.m. until 2:25 p.m. Monday through Friday. That is seven hours every day inside the school learning. 

The staff at the Junior High saw the need for a break sometime in the day, so they decided to add in a ninja course, blacktop with basketball hoops and a gaga pit right outside of the lunchroom. The students would get the opportunity to go outside during their lunch period. 

Junior High gym and health teacher Jason Vice has played a big role in the process of constructing the new addition for the Junior High students. “We all know [through research] that some of our students experience social/emotional issues. Exercise is the number one way to help reduce those social/emotional issues. . .so the park is a big help,” he said 

This new idea has been in the works for quite some time, and the administration has put a lot of thought into it and have considered every circumstance. “Sadly, this equipment is super expensive and our school [or any school for that matter] does not have thousands of additional dollars laying around to put towards something like this,” Vice stated.

The school has already sent home a fundraising packet to Junior High families asking for help to benefit their kids and other kids like them.

Avyn Nelson, a seventh grader at Pleasant Valley Junior High, was very ecstatic to finally receive a break throughout the day. “It will give me a break, and when I come back into the school day, I will be ready to continue on with my school work,” he exclaimed.

The administration’s end goal is to have all equipment finished and ready by the 2020-21 school year.