How does your school handle nap time? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 02-11-2006, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are having some serious issues with dd and nap time at her Montessori school and I'm curious if her school's policy is the same for most schools.

DD is 3 1/2 and has been attending this school since August. It is their policy that all the 3 and 4 year olds rest for 1 hour. The children get out their mats after lunch and lay down. The teacher plays classical music. Unfortunately for us, DD has not been a napper for a long time now. It was our routine at home before this to have 1 hour of "quiet time" in her room. She was to stay in bed, but was free to look at books and play quietly with her dolls during that time. It worked really well for us - I got a little break and she had some down time. The 2 days a week that she attended a Montessori Mother's Day Out they would give her some space from the other children who were napping and allow her to have a book while she rested on her mat. They never had any problems and she would stay on her mat for the entire rest period.

Well, the school she is attending now is 100% against allowing the children to have anything on their mats during nap time. The teachers have had problems most of the school year with DD staying on her mat. She would have some good days and some bad days, but it has escalated to the point that they are very frustrated and have been sending her to the office almost every day. The director called me in for a conference last week and told me my only option was to send her half days. If we want her to attend a full day we need to go home every day and work on her nap time behavior. She stressed that it is possible for DD to lay on her mat for 1 hour and that she needs to learn self-control.

In talking to a few friends who are or have been Montessori teachers elsewhere, I found out that the no book policy is not neccesarily a Montessori policy. In fact, each teacher I talked to said children in their rooms were allowed to choose a book to take to their mat with them and one even had the children who didn't sleep or woke up early journal (or draw for the younger set) until rest time was over. So now I'm confused and more than a little frustrated.

I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but her school is AMI, and I'm wondering if this is part of their stricter following of Montessori method?

I'm not opposed to half days. The problem I have is that I have to work a full day one day a week in order to pay for this lovely preschool! They are willing to enroll her as a half day student 4 days a week and then charge me for after care on the day I work. However when you do the math, I end up spending only $25 less than full-time this way. We're very thrifty and budget-conscious, and it just kills me to spend that kind of money and get 12 hours less every week! I guess I just wish they would make the half day option more enticing financially, and we would jump on it.

This whole situation is just very frustrating. We've been upset with DD, wondering why she can't just do what the other kids do. I can tell she's feeling not so good about herself, either. This is not the direction I want to head in. Yes, DD is energetic and spirited, but she has always been a well-behaved, pleasant child and this whole experience is starting to color my view in a different way and I so don't want to go there. I love the Montessori classrooms and I want her to do well there, but at the same time it's just preschool and I want her to just have fun and get the basic social skills she'll need to succeed in school later.

Okay, this became a really long post that I didn't intend it to be. What I really want to know is what other schools allow at nap time for the non-nappers. It will help me decide whether she might be a better fit for a different Montessori school or if we need to look into a totally different environment.

Thanks so much for letting me vent a little.
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#2 of 10 Old 02-14-2006, 01:11 PM
 
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Nap time at my sons Montessori seems to be voluntary.

In his 3-6 room there are 25 kids. There are 4 nappers, my son included (he is 3). After lunch the nappers go to this alcove in the room and nap on their mats. His teachers just instilled this, this year; having nappers nap in the same room as the non-nappers. They said part of the M. thing was to have all children working together so they wanted the nappers to stay in the classroom. The other children learn respect and consideration (using quiet voices) while the nappers nap.

My son used to bring a little car to school and went to sleep holding that. In fact, it seems that all the children can bring one thing to school so long as they keep it in their cubby and it does not distract them from work. At the beginning of the year the teachers and I discussed my sons sleeping needs - he works better with a nap. The teachers worked with the nappers (set out their "beds", patted them on their backs to help them sleep, dimmed the lights in the alcove). Now going to nap after lunch is routine for the 4 nappers. The teachers always have to wake him up as he is still sleeping by closing time.

At anyrate, I think no kids in his school are forced to lay down for quiet time. The other 20 kids continue with work and activities in the afternoon as they do in the morning.

Previous to this year, though, the school used to have a nap room and an adult to supervise. After lunch the nappers from the 4 different rooms were taken to this other carpeted room. And they napped there, which allowed the non-nappers to continue their activities.

It seems your school is a bit different as they have quiet time for everyone.

I would be frustrated too, I think "forcing" nap time is going against the bigger picture of the M. philosophy. Either way, it is too bad they are not flexible to allow your child to read a book instead.

I don't think the no book @ quiet time is a policy. Nor do I think quiet time, on a mat, is a global policy.

(My sons M. is affiliated with AMS, AMI, and a few other abbreviations)

Sara - Mum to C (10/02) ; m/c 10/07; 7/08; 3/09; Lucy Olive Feb 28, 2010 !
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#3 of 10 Old 02-14-2006, 04:05 PM
 
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My DS's school (2.5-6 yrs.) doesn't do naps. I think it's a space issue, though, not a philosophy. It's a very small school (10 students) operating in the home of one of the teachers. If a child needs a nap, then s/he attends half-days instead of full days.

Christine , wife of Ron , mama to Tony (4-25-03) and Maria (3-19-06) :
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#4 of 10 Old 02-15-2006, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting . . . I wish DD's school followed either of your school's policies.

I just had a conference with DD's teacher yesterday morning and it came out that she's not comfortable with the policy, either. In her words, she believed it was cruel to make a child lay down for 1 hour if they're not sleepy. We both agreed that it was more important that DD learned to rest for a shorter amount of time and then learn to work quietly and respectfully around her classmates. Unfortunately her hands are tied as the director is expressly against it. The teacher wouldn't come out and say it, but I don't think she will be there next year. She is a new teacher and she is trying to find out where she would best "fit" within Montessori.

Looks like we will either move DD to a different Montessori school (if she gets in) or will send her to a more traditional preschool next fall. A school that can't be reasonably flexible just doesn't sit well with us.

Thanks for you feedback.
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#5 of 10 Old 02-17-2006, 04:42 PM
 
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At our school, the 3 and 4 year olds (and young 5s, those not in kindergarten), have rest time. They come in from recess and get their mats. They lay down and listen to a story (a chapter from a book) for about 20 minutes. If they fall asleep during that time, they are left there to sleep. If, after 20 minutes, they are still awake, they have the option to get up and do what they want to do. Emma rarely stays a full day, and so rarely is involved in this. However, when she does stay, she almost always falls asleep, even though she insists that she won't.
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#6 of 10 Old 02-20-2006, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just an update. Last Wednesday was Elena's only full day (it's the one day I work) and nap time was a disaster as usual. I had a note for me to see the principal before picking her up. While we were discussing the issue, I let her know that I had researched some other Montessori schools and traditional preschools and had discovered that their nap policies were more flexible. I told her that we felt Elena would be better served in a program that allowed her more choice at naptime and didn't force rest for a full hour if she wasn't sleepy.

All of a sudden she was very concerned about losing Elena. She suggested that maybe the teachers move Elena to a different corner of the classroom and allow her to have a book on her mat! This was what we suggested all the way back in September, but back then it was absolutely not an option.

So we'll be trying her suggestion tomorrow. Wish us luck. I think this will work, but the whole nap time has turned into such a power struggle there's no telling what Elena will do.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-20-2006, 04:11 PM
 
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WOW! Great news. I am glad they are being cooperative - under the circumstances !

Good to hear
Sara

Sara - Mum to C (10/02) ; m/c 10/07; 7/08; 3/09; Lucy Olive Feb 28, 2010 !
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#8 of 10 Old 02-25-2006, 01:24 AM
 
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Personally, I think it's cruel to force a three year old to lay down and stare at the walls for an hour. No book???? As a school teacher, I also have a big problem with making rules that children can't follow and then getting them in trouble when they can't follow the rule.

Interestly, I am reading Maria Montessori's Child in the Family right now where she states that children shouldn't have bed times and should be allowed to be awake and with adults until they are ready to sleep. Take that back to your director!
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#9 of 10 Old 03-03-2006, 02:04 AM
 
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I am glad to hear they have decided to let your dd have a book to look at. Is the reason they insist on the 1 hr rest because of licensing issues in your state? I have heard in some states children are required to rest for a specific amount of time each day if they attend over a certain number of hours and the child is under 5 yrs old.

At my Montessori school we only have under 3's so everyone definately takes a nap. At the Montessori school my middle ds goes to she has a no napping policy mid week (t-Th) and on M/F those are the only days young children that need a nap can attend, otherwise those young 2's have to only attend 1/2 day on T-Th. Bottomline she wants to teach, not deal with the daycare aspect of the napping children.

Good luck to you!
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#10 of 10 Old 03-13-2006, 08:32 PM
 
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I responded to the OP in PM, but thought others might be interested:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillianna
HI! I saw the post where you reference THE CHILD IN THE FAMILY re: nap and bed times. I could not find anywhere in the book where she spoke on this. Could you please point me in the direction of the passage you read? I would really appreciate it!
Ok, it took me forever but I found it. It is in the chapter called "The New Education" and it is inside the paragraph which starts "The adult must aquire the sensitivity to recongnize all the child's needs" It says:

To extend to the child this hopsitality, that is, to allow him to participate in our lives, is difficult but cost nothing; it depends solely on the emotional preparation of the adult. . . .the extension of the adult hospitality is opposed by the prejudice, supported tyrannically and cruelly by health science, that a child must get a great deal of sleep, like a vegetable. Why force him to sleep? If we allow him to stay awake as much as he likes and we keep him near us, we will see that he needs to sleep a great deal less.

She goes on to say that "condeming children to sleep" is unnecessary and with out reason. In my book it is page 56-57, but I have the 1970 edition.
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