By Stephanie Stahl


ABINGTON, Pa. (CBS) — Paging Dr. Recess. A recess program in Elkins Park is helping students become more independent, creative and caring.

Most kids are overscheduled and involved with organized sports, so there is not a lot of free time. This recess program is designed to let kids be kids so they can develop some skills that can be missed in their hectic lives.

It’s recess without an agenda at McKinley Elementary School in Abington Township.

There are some old-fashioned games and regular ones too. The kids figure it out on their own.

“Nobody is bossing us around, we can do whatever we want with the games,” a student said.

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“I’m just trying to give them more options of things to do,” PlayFit Education teacher Curt Hinson said.

Hinson, a former physical education teacher, came up with the program that goes by his nickname Dr. Recess.

“A lot of kids, all they know are sport-type games — football, basketball, soccer,” Hinson said. “When you play my type of games, you have more fun, get more exercise, improve skills because you’re engaged, involved in the game more.”

Hinson says in their superstructured world, most kids don’t get a chance to be spontaneous. The free time can improve creativity and emotional intelligence.

“It really helps with developing their interpersonal relationships when they learn how to get along with each other, be kind and include others in their games,” McKinley Elementary School principal Marie Kim said. “It’s easier to do it in an unstructured environment.”

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It turns out, there’s less bickering and bullying when students get unstructured recess.

“The kids are able to do it on their own. There’s no interaction with the adults. They can manage it all by themselves. They can play on their own. They can do it. They don’t have to have someone stand over, referring or umpiring the game,” Hinson said.

Hinson developed the Dr. Recess program for PlayFit Education and does assemblies around the country.

Many of the ideas come from his book called “Teaching People How To Play.”

Stephanie Stahl