School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Vonda Beavers


Extended Play, Recess, Daily Physical Activity Time, State Mandate of Required Physical Activity, Cognitive Development


Education | Elementary Education | Health and Physical Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to provide an in-depth understanding of teachers’, principals’ and educational stakeholders’ viewpoints of students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades pertaining to the incorporation of additional daily physical activity into the school day above the state-mandated 30 minutes in an elementary school in rural Western North Carolina. Research questions included: How does additional daily physical activity implemented in the school day influence student cognitive development? Why has additional daily physical activity time been incorporated into the school day? How does extended play benefit students beyond cognitive impact? Personal semi-constructed interviews with 11 teachers, principal of the school, and a focus group of educational stakeholders were conducted. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed by the researcher to give detailed description of the cases. Upon review of the transcription of the interviews and focus groups, the researcher determined how each participant had experienced the implementation of additional daily physical activity into the school curriculum. Significant statements were established and assigned a code, allowing for condensation of data into broad themes. Physical artifacts were examined to provide insights into the principles and philosophies that provided direction to the school life and activities. This study found that physical activity provides brain breaks, addresses the whole child, promotes problem solving and provides opportunity for released energy.