Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD


This project examines the effects of how recess preparation and reflection can be focused on providing students an opportunity to connect socially and strengthen overall happiness. By investigating the role social satisfaction plays in a child’s life during recess, educators may gain knowledge about how to foster social connectedness for every child. While most studies about recess focus on a child’s level of physical activity or negative behaviors, researchers have yet to investigate recess as a place to improve a child’s well-being and social satisfaction. This study was conducted at a public elementary school through qualitative interviews and observations. Teachers, administrators, and yard duty monitors were interviewed, and ninety-five children shared their perspectives by writing in journals during class time.

When a teacher is more aware of what is going on with her students at recess, she is able to fully teach the whole child and better prepare them for the social skills needed to have a successful recess experience. Often teachers are not regularly on the playground to observe recess, so they are unaware of what students are doing or any social conflicts that may arise. Although teachers need the recess break for their own time, there can be classroom time built in daily or weekly for teachers to connect with their student’s recess experiences. If a teacher is able to prepare and reflect on recess by utilizing transitions, it will legitimize student feelings that recess is an important time in school.


Every child should have the opportunity to have fun at recess, regardless of background or ability or family or culture, and, as a society, it is our responsibility to determine how to support this goal for each child.