School Recess and Playground Behavior

Educational and Developmental Roles

By Anthony D. Pellegrini

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Children's Play in Society
Paperback : 9780791421840, 187 pages, December 1994
Hardcover : 9780791421833, 187 pages, December 1994

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Table of contents


1. Children on the Playground at Recess: What's So Important?

2. Playgrounds and Children's Behavior at Recess

3. Theory and Method

4. Dimensions of the Playground and Children's Behavior: Implications for Social Cognition Development

5. The Effects of Recess Timing on Elementary School Children's Recess and Classroom Behavior

6. Longitudinal Relations between Playground Behavior and Cognition: Explorations in Social Dimensions of Cognition

7. The Rough-and-Tumble Play of Primary School Children: Contemporaneous and Longitudinal Relations

8. Preference for Outdoor Play during Early Adolescence

9. Longitudinal Relations between Social Networks and Adjustment to Middle School

10. Adolescent Boys' Rough-and-Tumble Play

11. Conclusions and Implications



The recess period represents a unique part of the school day. It is one of the few times when children can interact with their peers on their own terms with minimal adult intervention. Consequently, it represents one of the few places in primary and middle schools to observe spontaneous peer interaction. School Recess and Playground Behavior offers a programmatic examination of a neglected aspect of children's behavior and informs related literatures such as the educational, social-developmental, and cognitive-developmental literatures.

Dr. Pellegrini goes well beyond what has been done in the past by systematically pursuing an underlying theme that revolves around the educational significance of recess periods. Due to the relatively new interest in understanding the developmental significance of playground experiences, most past work has been topical in nature. By using a theme, the author has taken the next logical step in bringing coherence to this line of inquiry. The result is a readable and coherent volume that clearly demonstrates the value of recess periods in enhancing children's cognitive and social/emotional development.

Anthony D. Pellegrini is Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Georgia, Athens, and editor of the SUNY series, Children's Play in Society.