If you’re old enough to have school age children, chances are you remember a time when virtually all kids had recess, often twice a day in elementary school. How could things have changed so dramatically in just a few decades?

“Recess started to decline in the late 1980s, when so many educational mandates started coming down,” explains Jarrett, who is president of the advocacy organization, the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play.

“It got worse with No Child Left Behind. With the pressure on testing, schools found little time left for anything like art, music, or even science that wasn’t being tested. And recess was considered a waste of time.”

As the problem grows more pervasive, experts like Jarrett have observed that many of today’s children don’t even mention the lack of recess to parents. The reason: They don’t even know the word recess.