Lawmaker wants more recess time for students


Elementary school children would have 20 minutes of "unstructured, free-play" recess each day under a bill filed Tuesday by state Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami.

Flores' bill (SB 78) revives a debate about elementary students needing more free play time, in addition to regular physical education classes.

Her bill would require each school district to provide "at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free-play recess" each week or 20 consecutive minutes per day for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

The free-play recess would be in addition to the requirement that school districts provide 150 minutes of "physical education" each week for students in K-5 and sixth-grade students who are in schools that contain one or more elementary classes.

Similar legislation failed to pass in the 2016 session. If approved by the 2017 Legislature, the free-play recess requirement would take effect with the school year beginning in August 2017.