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Health Check Kids: Free play, twice a day

Gordon School in East Providence promotes free play every day. (WJAR)

Gordon School in East Providence promotes free play every day.

"Unless it's pouring rain, we're out every day at least twice a day,” said Maureen Kelly, director of early childhood development at Gordon.

There’s one other exception, said Kelly.

"If it's 20 below wind chill factor, we don't go out," she said.

So, most days, students in nursery school through eighth-grade engage in free play in a large wide open field on school property.

"I kind of love it when it's cold outside because I kind of get to embrace the cold," said Myles Craddock, a sixth grader.

"It's always fun. My friends and I play tag and it's a big group,” said Charlie Ragona, an eighth-grader.

“And it's a lot of people I don’t see during the rest of the day at school so that's really special."

"It warms up their brain,” said Kelly.

"I feel like if I get all my energy out, then I can really focus and sit down and work as hard as I possibly can," said Maya Kelly, another eighth grader.

"It lets me just calm myself down,” said Craddock. “I talk with my friends. We kind of connect with each other and it helps us in the classroom because we've calmed down, we can kind of set our minds and we're our best in the classroom."

While it's good for their learning, it also helps them develop social skills.

"Just think about being outside, taking turns, sharing something, come up with game rules, figure out what's fair and unfair,” said Kelly. "We hope their love for being outside carries them into adulthood."

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