Dr. Charlene Woodham Brickman is a career educator with experience as a teacher, Title I facilitator, technology coordinator, assistant principal, school improvement specialist, and college instructor. Teaching in private and public schools and most places in between has provided her with a wide array of experiences. At the beginning of this journey, she believed that play was a necessary part of childhood, but in her career, she has watched the practice of play erode for both children and adults, alike.
Recognizing that the practice of recess is often reduced or eliminated for young children, many districts and states have created policies to protect the practice. These policies might state minimum time periods, prohibit the use of recess deprivation as a punitive measure, and/or specify that recess is to be an unstructured break. However, research demonstrates that even with a written policy, these policies are often not executed with fidelity and that young children are often denied this discretionary period during the school day.
Dr. Brickman’s research centers on recess policy and the beliefs/perceptions of those asked to implement these policies. Now, more than ever, children need breaks to socialize and burn off energy and simply have unstructured time. In this way, we are protecting their mental health and allowing them the privileges of childhood.
Dr. Brickman serves on the board for the Athens-Clarke County Library in Athens, Georgia.