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Quebec education minister acts on promise to give children more recess

Starting next fall, schools will have to offer recess periods of at least 20 minutes each in the morning and afternoon.
Starting next fall, schools will have to offer recess periods of at least 20 minutes each in the morning and afternoon. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

The Coalition Avenir Québec government is following through on an election promise guaranteed to win the hearts of the province’s schoolchildren: more recess.

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge announced today that starting next fall, schools will have to offer recess periods of at least 20 minutes each in the morning and afternoon.

READ MORE: Should Canadian schools have more recess breaks?

Roberge extolled the benefits of recess on children’s health, noting that there are currently no rules establishing how much play time students should receive.

A 2017 poll by a Quebec health coalition found that almost 40 per cent of Quebec schools offered less than 30 minutes of recess a day. One school out of five did not provide afternoon recess.

WATCH: Most Canadian teachers would welcome a way to get students to focus more in the classroom 

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Roberge said schools will be permitted to extend recess beyond 20 minutes, even if it cuts into classroom time.

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He said the policy will not result in additional costs, but he added that the government will soon approve spending to spruce up schoolyards.

READ MORE: Quebec’s Education Ministry says school surveys on religious symbols began months ago