RECESS is no longer child’s play. Schools around the country, concerned
about bullying and arguments over the use of the equipment, are increasingly hiring “recess
coaches” to oversee students’ free time.
For children in past eras, participating in the culture of childhood
was a socializing process. They learned to settle their own quarrels, to
make and break their own rules, and to respect the rights of others.
They learned that friends could be mean as well as kind, and that life
was not always fair.
Now that most children no longer participate
in this free-form experience — play dates arranged by parents are no
substitute — their peer socialization has suffered. One tangible result
of this lack of socialization is the increase in bullying, teasing and
discrimination that we see in all too many of our schools. —NYTimes
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