The world is changing rapidly, and so are children’s educational needs. While many people agree that education should prepare children for a competitive global economy, there has also been a push to recognize that children’s well-being should be taken into consideration when planning curricula and structuring the school day.
To this end, parents and educators are confronting pedagogical questions such as: What is the optimal time to start school to make sure students can learn effectively—and get enough rest? How many and what kind of breaks do students need during the day? What are the best ways for students to learn, and do they differ depending on the subject being taught—or the students themselves?
In some of these areas, big changes are already taking place. Some states, for instance, are considering or have already passed laws that would delay school start times, making them more conducive to children’s sleeping schedules. Other states have passed laws requiring recess, ensuring that children have access to physical activity throughout the day. These reforms, along with others, aim to protect children’s physical and mental health—in addition to making them better able to focus, learn, and grow.