Naptime in Full-Day Kindergarten

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Gilboord, Melody
sleep , kindergarten
The Ontario Ministry of Education’s guidelines for full-day kindergarten do not specifically mention naptime (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2010). This study sought to address the issue of naptime in full-day kindergarten. Focus groups and interviews were conducted to understand the perspectives of eighteen parent and teacher participants. Seven of the participants were kindergarten teachers, nine were parents. Two participants qualified to be both teacher and parent. The main findings from this study demonstrated that parents and teachers considered the following to be advantages of naptime: (1) a nap allows a break that enables students to focus on afternoon learning, (2) a nap allows the behaviour of children to improve (3) some children are young and require a nap, (4) teachers use naptime to complete preparation for the next lesson, and (5) since school is a long day for children, a nap is required to ensure students will remain awake in the afternoon. The disadvantages of kindergarten naptime were identified as: (1) an afternoon nap is not useful for all students, (2) it takes away from time devoted to academics, (3) it negatively affects bedtimes and, (4) managing naptime is problematic. Additionally, more appealing alternatives to a naptime session were suggested: (1) Down Time which refers to activities that are quiet without any expectation that children will sleep, (2) Rest Time which includes an option to sleep or participate in quiet, individual activities, and (3) Quiet Time which is a period of time dedicated to quiet, individual activities without any intention of sleeping. It was suggested that only Junior Kindergarten students need a chance to nap, since it will help them focus in the afternoon. A synthesis of my findings suggests that a 30-minute rest time could be incorporated in the full-day Junior Kindergarten, but not Senior Kindergarten, program at the midday point.
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