Dozing off — or not

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cassville cuts nap time, introduces quiet activity time

The Cassville school district has changed up kindergarten a bit this year by doing away with nap time.

Catherine Weaver, Cassville Primary School principal, said there was a discussion about the topic with the kindergarten teachers before school started.

“The teachers have been talking about this for close to five years,” she said. “They have really been noticing that very few of the children rest.”

Weaver said what the teachers were finding was that if they had a quiet activity, the children actually did better with that.

“We didn’t have a vote, we just got together and talked about what we had been finding,” she said. “We have been tracking the topic for around five years and asking questions like how many children are napping.”

Weaver said the teachers even looked into if taking away nap time was something they should try out for just one semester.

“But, like I said, we found that if the children have a quiet activity where they can just kind of rest and still have the opportunity to wind down, they get the same benefit,” she said. “We will put on an educational video or a read aloud where the teacher reads to the children.”

Weaver said nap time was turning into a kind of chaotic thing because the children didn’t want to do it.

“We haven’t heard anything about it from the parents, positive or negative,” she said. “When the supply list went up and obviously there wasn’t a nap mat on it, no one said anything.”

Weaver said the Kinder Academy students do still have a rest time.

“Nap time is something that is more appropriate for those students,” she said. “The students in kindergarten have kind of weaned themselves away from it.”

Weaver said this is her 21st year as an administrator, and she noticed when she first started that children weren’t even falling asleep during nap time.

“We still maintained nap time over the years, but recently have started watching them and coming up with different protocols to use,” she said. “We found that the educational videos and reading to the children worked best, because even the children who were tired could fall asleep, and the rest of the students were engaged and quiet during that time.”

Weaver said preschool students don’t get a nap because it is a half day, but Kinder Academy is a full day.

“With our Kinder Academy, the largest number of those students are barely age five,” she said. “So developmentally, it is more appropriate for them to have nap.”

Weaver said aside from the change in naps for kindergarteners, there is no major changes in programs or curriculum.

“The biggest thing right now is all of the plans for the new early childhood building,” she said. “We are trying to get those finalized so we can start the ground breaking on that.”

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