Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Education


The history of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recess policy has been marked by long periods of consistency. However, in the last two decades the history of recess policy has changed significantly. Beginning in the mid-19th century, the Board of Education required one to two recess sessions per day in primary or elementary schools. This is in stark contrast to the 1991 policy which eliminated recess entirely for seven years. In 1998 there was another policy shift which is still in effect today. This policy allows individual principals and their local school councils to determine how to allocate their daily schedule. Therefore, each school has the opportunity to choose whether or not to schedule recess into their already full day. Currently, only one-third of CPS schools allow time for recess. Unfortunately, many students are missing out on having recess as a part of their day. This work will seek to illuminate the history of CPS's recess policy as well as find the reasons behind the drastic policy shifts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.