Rethinking Recess

Rethinking Recess Creating Safe and Inclusive Playtime for All Children in School

Rebecca A. London
paper, 264 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-414-4
Price: $34.00

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cloth, 264 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-415-1
Price: $66.00

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In Rethinking Recess, sociologist Rebecca A. London argues that recess has been overlooked as an essential part of the elementary school experience, with major implications for how well schools serve all students equitably and responsively. Given its potential to support students’ social and emotional learning and physical activity, London says, recess should be designed intentionally, with attention to safety, health, and engagement.


All children have the right to equitable and inclusive access to recess as a foundation of development. Rethinking Recess offers a compelling case for ‘organized recess,’ describing the important role of organized play to promote wellness, strengthen school culture, and enhance social and emotional learning. This book is a call to action for the well-being of our children and society. — Mary Ann Dewan, Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools

This important book illustrates how a well-organized and universally available recess can provide developmental spaces for students that improve school climate and foster social and emotional learning. Rethinking Recess documents inequities in access to recess, illustrates how schools can organize safe and supportive recess, and provides practical guidance for policy makers. — David Osher, vice president and institute fellow, American Institutes for Research

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About the Author

Rebecca A. London is a faculty member in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on understanding the challenges faced by disadvantaged children and youth and the ways that communities and community organizations support young people to be healthy and successful. She advocates for and utilizes a university-community partnership approach to elevate the relevance of university scholarship through alignment with the pressing challenges and realities faced by community agencies and organizations. Her work focuses on both policy and practice, and uses qualitative and quantitative methods. She has conducted research in multiple fields, including K–12 and postsecondary education, cross-sector approaches to “whole student” development, health and wellness, afterschool programs, and social welfare programs.

She is coeditor of From Data to Action: A Community Approach to Improving Youth Outcomes (with Milbrey McLaughlin, 2013). Her recent work has been published in scholarly journals such as the Journal of School Health, Educational Researcher, Education Policy Analysis Archives, and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Her research has also been featured by organizations that reach important policy audiences, including the Center for American Progress, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Public Policy Institute of California, where she is a fellow in K–12 policy.

She views the policies and contexts that shape the lives of children and youth through an equity lens, promoting practices and solutions that support positive development and outcomes. She was the founding faculty director of the Student Success Evaluation and Research Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is committed to fostering cultural inclusivity and equity in her own teaching practice.

Table of Contents


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