Next year, all Chicago Public Schools will move to a longer day, instituting new guidelines for principals to follow.

Expectations include increased instructional time for reading, writing, math and science. The expanded day will also include mandatory recess, which is something many students have gone without for years.

As of last fall, only 42% of the district’s schools had any recess at all and just 15% of schools held recess outdoors.

Students at Holden Elementary admire their new line games after Serve-a-thon 2011.

“Recess is a key part of the full day and studies show that having time for recess not only promotes lifelong habits of healthy living, but also increases the likelihood of a student’s success in the classroom,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, announcing the coming changes.

Chicago Cares is excited to support our Serve-a-thon schools in preparing for the addition of recess. This year, 22 of our 24 Serve-a-thon sites will receive playlot improvements on June 9!

Serve-a-thon volunteers will paint educational line games and colorful maps and they will provide welcoming landscaping, giving students beautiful outdoor spaces to learn and play.

We hope to see you at Serve-a-thon on June 9! If you didn’t register in time, you can still support the work we’re doing by making a donation on the Serve-a-thon website.