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Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

  • 1.  Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 8 days ago
    Hello colleagues near and far!

    This year, our preschool class of 4's and 5's was extended to an all day program with an afternoon rest time. The lead teachers have found the rest time to be pretty impactful in that: 1) Children nap in the classroom, so any work or projects from the morning (i.e. block construction) need to be put away so there is space for the rest mats. This makes it difficult for children to continue with some projects in the afternoon or into the next day. 2)​ We are trying to calibrate just how long of a rest time is optimal for the children.

    If you have thoughts, I would love to hear about how you have addressed the impact of rest time on your classroom spaces and ongoing work. It would also be good to hear about how long your rest times are and where they are scheduled in your days. Any other insights much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Isaac

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    Isaac Enloe
    Catlin Gabel School
    Portland OR
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  • 2.  RE: Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 8 days ago
    Rest time is most important for those ages of your students.
    At our private school our children rest 12: 00- 1:00. They wake up happy boys and girls and they enjoy helping put the mats and blankets away. They are ready for a great afternoon.
    We have the mats placed so the child aren't too close to each other.
    Good choice for your school to have rest for your little students.
    Enjoy the happy results of child who have rested their brains.







  • 3.  RE: Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 7 days ago
    Thanks, Carol. Rest time is invaluable and we see the benefits for the children daily.  Thanks for your thoughts!
    Isaac

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    Isaac Enloe
    Catlin Gabel School
    Portland OR
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  • 4.  RE: Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 6 days ago
    We also do rest time for our 4's and 5's.  The children eat lunch at 12:30, then lay down at 1. They choose whether or not they sleep, but everyone does need to rest their body.  They rest until 2 and for those that do fall asleep, we wake them up around 3 and get a snack.  The kids are well rested and able to focus better in the afternoon to finish any projects they started earlier in the day.  As we sit with the children and talk quietly, we take the time to reflect about the day.  I am hoping this will plant the seeds of reflection at the end of each day for them.

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    Jen Sevier
    The Nurturing Center
    Kalispell MT
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  • 5.  RE: Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 6 days ago
    We had a similar situation, where rest time had to happen in the room, and we had to build a culture of rest where there hadn't been one. Previously, after lunch we observed an uptick in physical mishaps, increased arguing in a non-productive manner, simply, the ability to self-regulate body and mind had been overtaxed. At first our students resisted the rest break, but over time this period became hugely popular. We found that at this age, some children fall asleep, but many don't. 45 minutes-1 hour was about the right amount of time, and if a child was fast asleep, we would let them continue and work around their mat.

    For us as well, to fit all the children in the space, large construction had to be cleaned up, which is sad. It does change the way you teach. However, even for children who don't sleep, it was important to have the quiet period. It allowed children to take a break from social engagement, absorb and integrate the concerns of the day, and try solo activities that they might not otherwise choose.

    Here are some tips we learned along the way: we got small flat office supply type baskets, enough for every child. If they were doing something during the morning that they wanted to finish or play with more, a drawing, puzzle, small blocks, etc. they could put their supplies in a basket, on a special shelf, and go get them at rest time. This helped create continuity and also helped with morning transitions when we really needed the child to wrap up. Additionally, right before rest time, a child could take a basket and put in items they wanted to use and have them by their mat.

    Many schools use nap time to offer teachers breaks and this raises the ratios. While technically legal, we found that rest time required a lot of one on one attention. It proved to be an excellent time to make contact with every student, whether offering sleepy pats, or other emotional support to calm the body. For children who did not sleep, we found this an ideal time for "pre-kindergarten" work if they wanted to do worksheets, mazes, dot to dots, or even dictate stories now that they were in a calm space. This was a time to build elaborate constructions in their own space, and use special materials without having to "share" or take turns.

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    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 6.  RE: Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 6 days ago
    Thank you, Jen and Karen. It is so helpful to hear about how other programs are structuring this time.

    Karen, I really appreciate your practical tips about saving baskets/trays. I will bring those ideas to the teachers. I agree, it is a shame about having to dismantle large constructions.

    Many thanks,

    Isaac

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    Isaac Enloe
    Catlin Gabel School
    Portland OR
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  • 7.  RE: Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 2 days ago

    Hi Isaac,
    I now teach a full day class for 4K (those kiddos 1 year out from Kindergarten). They come 3 days a week, I teach two half-day three-year-old classes on the opposite days. I do require a rest time for my 4K kiddos. They don't have to nap, but they do have to rest. This is my third year doing this and each year it has been different. The first year I had 19 students and 1-6 might stay awake. Last year, I had 18 students and maybe 6 would fall asleep. This year I have only 10 students (small town numbers fluctuate), and only 1 or 2 might stay awake. Usually once per week all 10 fall asleep. I have based the length of naptime on the majority and the fact that as part of a pre-k through 8th-grade school some times are set for me.  Our lunch time is 11:15, this is followed by an outdoor recess until 12:15 (we get 30 minutes for each). Our school day ends at 3:10, Kindergarten-4th is dismissed at 3:15, and 5-8 is dismissed at 3:20.

    After recess, my students come in and we settle down and I read some books to them. Then they all take a bathroom break and retrieve their "rest things" from our lockers. Then the kids can grab a blanket to borrow and I turn on soft music and dim the lights. I don't have a dimmer switch, but I turn the lights off in one area, then another. My rule is if the lights are off, so are their voices so they and their friends can rest. We are "lights out" by 1.  I start to open curtains around 2, with "lights on" at 2:15. If someone is extra tired I will let them go until 2:30 or 2:45. Since we dismiss at 3:10, I can't let them sleep later than that. I have a couple of kiddos who are in "extended care" by 6:30 in the morning! That's a long day!

    When I had the class that didn't sleep, I purchased several volumes of The Magic Tree House books on CD that we listened to. They really seemed to enjoy those!  If someone is awake during the last 15-20 minutes of rest time I will give them books to look at while I start to open the curtains and prepare their afternoon snack. I have not done quiet boxes or anything like that. 

    Here is a link to a website that talks about the benefits of daytime sleep for preschoolers: 

    https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/12/naps-can-aid-learning-preschoolers



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    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI
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  • 8.  RE: Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 2 days ago
    Additionally, since my classes alternate each day, we don't get to save large constructions, except with a photo. My room is also used for Sunday School each weekend and I have to put all of the toys away as those students will play with a few of the toys. Not ideal, but we make it work! :)

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    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI
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  • 9.  RE: Preschool Rest Time - Best Practices

    Posted 2 days ago

    Heather, thank you so much! I appreciate the details you've shared, as well as the article. Very helpful.

    Thanks again,

    Isaac

     


     

    Isaac Enloe, Assistant Head of Beginning School
    8825 SW Barnes Rd. Portland OR 97225
    503-297-1894 x1002 | enloei@catlin.edu
    www.catlin.edu