4 and 5 year old children today are very busy...moving from oneactivity to the next with high amounts of pressure, in some cases!Pediatricians recommend that kindergarten age children receive aminimum of 10 hours of sleep each night. Many children do not getanywhere close to this appropriate amount of sleep. According to thebook, American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child's Sleep: BirthThrough Adolescence , "Children who chronically fail to get enoughsleep do not learn as well as better-rested youngsters. They also havea higher rate of behavior problems. In many cases, overtired childrenresort to hyperactivity and difficult behavior as a way of fighting offdaytime drowsiness" (Cohen, 1999). The National Sleep Foundation statesthat "Sleep is a vital need, essential to a child's health and growth.Sleep promotes alertness, memory and performance. Children who getenough sleep are more likely to function better and are less prone tobehavioral problems and moodiness" This organization recommends thatchildren ages 3 - 5 years get 11-13 hours of sleep (including naps forchildren 5 years of age)! www.sleepforkids.org/html/sheet.html
These recommendations as well as the expectations that we haveplaced on our young children today have precipitated the Primary Teamat the NC Department of Public Instruction to share our thoughtsregarding the need for a rest time for our kindergarten children. Thereis not a state policy related to kindergarten napping, however, thePrimary Team recommends that kindergarten children do receive a quiettime each day to rest, to nap, and/or to read books quietly, etc.
We must remember that all children are unique and will needdifferent amounts of rest. Some children may actually sleep during thistime while others may just rest their bodies and their brains torecharge for the remainder of the day! This quiet time is also a goodtime for children to look at books, listen to music and/or spend someindividual time with the teacher or assistant. Each LEA has thediscretion to make policies at the local level. This would be acritical subject to discuss at the district and school levels and weencourage you to begin this conversation with your colleagues about theimportance of providing young children time to rest each day.
Please see the attached article from the Public Education NetworkWeekly Newsblast for May 4, 2006...an article from the CharlotteObserver entitled "No more naps in kindergarten".
NO MORE NAPS IN KINDERGARTEN: ACADEMIC DEMANDS PUSH OUT SHUT-EYE
For decades, boys and girls have arrived at kindergarten with a must-have
from the supply list: A comfy mat for nap time. Today, they can leave
their tiny mats at home, reports Gail Smith-Arrants. Across the nation,
academic pressures in public schools are getting pushed down to
kindergarten. Not even 5-year-olds have time for naps anymore. The
national move away from naptime and to making kindergarten a more studious
environment can come at a price, some educators say. Young children can be
hurried into academics too soon, they worry. Today's on-the-go
kindergarten is not the one that baby boomers, or even some boomers'
children, remember. "Kindergarten has experienced the greatest change of
any grade level in the system," said Susan Allred. "We went from spending
a semester playing in kitchen centers to actually teaching them to read
and write." Instead of naps, some teachers ask children to rest their
heads on their desks for about 20 minutes. They use the time to work
one-on-one with students who need extra help.