MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Ask any child and they’ll tell you that their favorite part of the school day is recess.

“Kids just have to sit there, and just like learn the whole day, but when it’s recess they just get to let all the energy out,” Harper Keenan told CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco.

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It might be a parent’s favorite part of the day too.

“I appreciate them getting it out with their peers, outside in the fresh air and not inside while I’m trying to make dinner,” Lorin Pankinn explained.

Web Extra: Montclair Parents’ Recess Petition

The mutual love of recess has prompted Montclair mother Rachel Quinn Egan to start an online petition for recess rights in the school district.

“I know that they are more focused and will learn better if they have some fun, and have had a chance for a break,” Quinn Egan said.

According to the school district’s website, all students have a scheduled 25 minute daily recess.

Egan said that isn’t enough. Her petition calls for an increase to 40 minutes of entirely unstructured play time without adult guidance for students in kindergarten through 5th grade.

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“Just let the children be free to socialize,” she said.

The petition also wants to make sure recess is not taken away from a child as a form of punishment.

“I can see there being a need for punishment, but I feel like most of the time the kids that are getting punished and having recess taken away are the kids that probably need recess the most,” she added.

The petition wants the kids to get outside as much as possible, even in the winter.

“We thought that 20 degrees and lower is probably a good time to call indoor recess,” Quinn Egan said.

Even though the students already have packed school days psychotherapist Talia Filippelli said recess is just as important as time in the classroom.

“Recess really provides an opportunity for kids to develop skills like social skills and learning how to problem solve on their own, conflict resolution, compromising,” she explained.

A group of parents will present the petition to the Montclair schools superintendent and Board of Education at a public meeting next month.

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