Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Westwood Heights Schools- Still the Saddest Little District in the Area

I wrote this post over 2 years ago about Westwood Heights-and the last time I checked they still had not reinstated recess.

I’m glad someone is trying to do something about children not getting enough fresh air and outdoor time. I just read about the No Child Left Inside campaign. I wish I had known about it sooner. I would have been promoting it, and sending information about it to my daughter’s elementary school.

McMonagle Elementary, part of the Westwood Heights School district in Michigan has cut daily recess from their curriculum. This is a school that houses K-5th grades. Those poor kids are going to be stuck inside all day unless their teachers take pity on them and take them outside for some fresh air.

Their reason for cutting recess? Budget. They just renovated and moved into the school building last year, along with building a new playground. Now that playground sits empty and unused. I think it is a waste. (Of course between the embezzeling and all the times they’ve been sued… they probably don’t have any money left) .

I think the school is being extremely sneaky. The only reason I know about the non-recess issue is because my friend was a recess monitor and was fired along with the other two women that were monitors. There have been no announcement in the school paper, no notes sent home, nothing. I asked my daughter about it just to double check, nope no recess. But how many parents don’t know because their kids don’t say anything?

I believe kids need to go outside. They need a break from sitting in a classroom all day. Especially with the high rates of obesity and attention disorders. Both of which, studies show spending more time outside in nature, can alleviate.

I participate in Green Hour, a program through NWF (National Wildlife Federation) which encourages parents to spend time outside with their children everyday.

Even though I make sure my kids go outside as much as possible, I still think they need a break during the long school day. Just a breath of fresh air can clear the mind and recharge batteries. I’m worried about kids being cooped up in a building all day. It’s not a good thing.

Even my high school age son (who does not attend a Westwood Heights School) gets to go outside during the day, not for recess but at lunch and break time he can play football or just hang with his friends for awhile. Adults at work can take lunch breaks or whenever breaks and go outside when they want, but small children are virtual prisoners in a building all day. Just doesn’t seem right.

It is just one more thing that brings down Westwood Heights, a district that has been plummeting ever since Superintendent Overweg retired several years ago. The new superintendent (that keeps changing) and the board of education just can’t seem to get it together.

Back in my school days there were no special recess monitors, just teachers that seemed to rotate days of who had to be outside with the children. If budget is the school’s issue, get the teachers to play recess monitors. If they all rotated duty no one should have to do it more than a couple times a month.

I plan to fight this, but it probably won’t do any good. I’ve voiced my complaints several times to no avail.

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