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Naptime in Kindergarten

When I first started kindergarten, I attended a Catholic school in Long Island, New York. There were eight students in my class and we all wore uniforms. Half way through kindergarten, my family moved to Florida where I attended a public school. There was close to 30 students in my class and there were no uniforms. I had two completely different kindergarten experiences. One of the similarities was each school did have naptime.

This is my third year teaching kindergarten, but when I started my internships four years ago, one of my questions was about naptime. I was quickly told that naptime does not exist anymore because it cuts into the academic day. Thinking back to when I was in kindergarten, I dreaded naptime. I never slept, but I do remember my classmates needing that time to sleep.

The first few weeks of school, I have had parents tell me that their child can barely stay awake through dinner. I started thinking this year whether or not any schools still allow naptime. I thought this could be a great discussion. Below, please post a comment regarding the status of naptime in your school. Please included where you teach as well. I am very interested to see the results. 

Comments

Hi Christina: Our public school district in TX does not allow naps in kindergarten or our full-day pre-k program. Our district is largely comprised of at-risk and ELLs, most are both. The concept of naps seems alien to most of our students, it is not something they have at home and therefore don't need at school either. In my full-day public pre-k classroom I usually have only one child per year who really needs a nap. Those students usually have severe circumstances at home that prevent them from sleeping through the night and therefore they need sleep during the day when they are "safe" at school. I think the nap issue depends on your population.

I did not have nap in kindergarten as it was only a half-day program. I wouldn't have napped even if we did have it though.

-vanessa

Like you Christina, I grew up with naptime in kindergarten. I remember not wanting to take a nap, but always taking one anyway. I slept a lot! Most kindergartens I know of these days do not have naptime anymore. One kindergarten I observed had "rest" time, where none of the children slept, but the lights were dimmed and they lay down on comfortable pillows or mats and looked at books. I wonder if there was naptime, and kids did sleep, if parents would complain that their children are too well rested and cannot fall asleep at night!

I wonder where today's children will learn relaxation, which is a skill that must be acquired and is so essential to health and well-being!

Children's needs for nap are so different and their parents' views on naptime are quite variable as well. Some are upset if they don't get enough rest, while others wished they could stay awake to do activities. Or they would rather they stay awake because they end up going to bed too late. In either case, I agree with Rae Pica. Being able to wind down is also an important lesson.

I also grew up with naptime. I don't remember sleeping all the time, but it was a nice chance to "rest". I teach in central Florida and my school does not have naptime. I did my internship in Tallahassee 4 years ago and they did not have naptime either.

Hi Christina,
I have been teaching over 24 years in private schools (Pre-K & K). When I taught Kindergarten we would have a rest time, about a half hour in length. Each child would find a comfortable place in the room to relax while I read a chapter or two of a chapter book (i.e. Charlottes Web, Mr. Poppers’ Penguins, The Mouse and the Motorcycle). The children could lay down or sit on a rug or they could sit at a table and color while they listened. Two rules, respect each other's space and quietly listen to the story. It took a little while for the children to settle in the beginning of the school year but once they learned the routine and the expectations they were hooked. Many times they were sad that the quiet time was over. One hint: Choose a book that will want them hungry for more.
I now teach Pre-K and we do not have a full day program but the school offers and extended day program until 3. We do have a required rest time for one hour. Each child is given a mat which is thoughtfully placed throughout the room. Each child is to bring into school a nap bag which contains resting gear (pillow, blanket, stuffed animal) and quiet play items (books, crayons, and markers, paper). The first half hour they all must lie down and “rest” and the second half hour (for those who have not fallen asleep) can play quietly on their mat. Of the 10 kids that stay for extended day only one child actually sleeps. The important thing they all have quiet rest time. Which I feel is equally beneficial for the child. Hope this helps.

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on naptime. I know I need quiet time throughout the day. When my class comes in from recess, I shut most of the lights off and the students can take out their library books or journals. I use this time for a water and bathroom break. Thanks again for reading my blog!!

I have taught kindergarten for four years at a Catholic School. We don't have any strict requirements about nap/rest time. We do have a lot to cover in our day so it does make it hard to fit it all in if we had to have nap time for a certain amount of time. I think that it is important that kids find time to relax so I do incorporate rest time with mats and music everyday after recess and a story. Just 10-15 minutes really seems to rejuvenate the kids, and those that need to sleep can rest for a little longer while we begin our afternoon centers. It really has been a great way to begin the second half of our day.

While researching this topic I ran across your blog... Thanks!!
I am the mother of a kindergartner that HATES nap time. She actually doesn't want to go to school because of a nap. She has a first year teacher that is really great but I believe is a bit fussy when she is frustrated. (I am too :)) There are potty accidents, constant policing, and a few resting children. Nap time is in our district's curriculum. I do not agree with nap time. My daughter views it as extended time out. This goes on for an hour. TOO LONG! How hard is it for adults to sit and look at 4 walls without moving about or talking for 60 minutes? How can we expect a 5 or 6 year old to maintain good behavior? I live in louisiana which is known for horrible schools. Although our district is always in the top 3, that isn't saying a lot. I believe our children would be much better served with a short, 20 minute or less, rest time. I love the idea of reading chapter books to them. They could rest and be enriched at the same time.

While researching this topic I ran across your blog... Thanks!!
I am the mother of a kindergartner that HATES nap time. She actually doesn't want to go to school because of a nap. She has a first year teacher that is really great but I believe is a bit fussy when she is frustrated. (I am too :)) There are potty accidents, constant policing, and a few resting children. Nap time is in our district's curriculum. I do not agree with nap time. My daughter views it as extended time out. This goes on for an hour. TOO LONG! How hard is it for adults to sit and look at 4 walls without moving about or talking for 60 minutes? How can we expect a 5 or 6 year old to maintain good behavior? I live in louisiana which is known for horrible schools. Although our district is always in the top 3, that isn't saying a lot. I believe our children would be much better served with a short, 20 minute or less, rest time. I love the idea of reading chapter books to them. They could rest and be enriched at the same time.

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