Naptime is over

Kindergarteners now spend a full day in school, with no naptime, reports the Baltimore Sun.

As educators strive to prepare children early so they can achieve later, naptime — the envy of some adults — has evolved into a period of quiet activities in the full-day kindergarten programs offered in Anne Arundel, Howard and other Maryland counties.

The disappearance of naptime is part of an increased emphasis on curriculum and instruction designed to make the most of the precious moments children spend in the classroom.

Maryland kindergarteners are older than they used to be: Nearly all turn 5 before school starts. Many have been in day care or pre-school, so they know how to handle group activities.

Full-day kindergarten programs stress developing language and pre-reading skills.

(Teacher Renee) Krysiak has the children for more than six hours each day, so she has time to spend about two and a half hours with the Open Court reading curriculum, which heavily emphasizes phonics.

The full-day schedule also offers time to leave the classroom for physical education, music, art and media, providing another respite during the day.

All children benefit from extra time to learn, especially those who may not have as much exposure to reading and language early on, said Anne Arundel Superintendent Eric J. Smith. Preparing them for first grade also gives them the confidence to feel they can be successful, he said.

However, determining the amount of sleep a child needs should remain the purview of parents, Smith added.

“Sometimes we do things that really are the domain of the home,” he said. “We ought to stick with the things we do well.”

There’s a concept.

About Joanne


  1. I am skeptical this is a good general plan for all children. It will most likely reduce the number of children who ‘fit in’ to kindergarten, and raise the diagnosis of learning disability. It is very adult-like to organize the day into quiet activity. But children like other animal need higher levels of activity and noise to grow. I also disagree that children who have been in day care, already know how to handle group activities (some do and some don’t).

  2. Now, if we can just get full-day instruction in the higher grades! 😉

  3. I still need a nap (especially today!). And I suppose there are arguments for more instruction for those children who don’t get exposed to enriched early learning experiences at home (i.e., their parents don’t have time to read to them). However, whenever you educate a large number of young children, it will take more time due to different levels of readiness, different maturities, and of course time spent coordinating a group of kids! It certainly strengthens the argument for homeschooling, in my mind.

    My sister has four kids and is homeschooling. Her oldest (10) is special needs, and though he has received some services from the public school in the past, she’s found that they are far inferior to private care (physical, occupational therapy, etc.), which fortunately she can afford (with some help from Grand-dad).

    Her second child (7) was a little slow to read (being a boy, that’s not surprising). But about six months ago, he “got it” and has progressed rapidly to well above grade level (he can tell you more about the presidents than you’ve ever wanted to know). He loves phonics, and knows all the rules (and exceptions). Phonics hasn’t helped the older one at all — he’s learning to read just about every word by sight memorization, and can read well some days and barely at all others (related to his many disabilities).

    She certainly doesn’t spend six hours a day in school. With the oldest, if he’s not in the right frame of mind, he can’t manage five minutes. If he’s in the right frame of mind, he can sit for hours. (Depends on how the circuits in his brain are firing on a given day.)

    The girls are 4 and 2, so they haven’t really started school, although the 4 year old has started the pre-reading materials because she’s interested. It’s likely that she’ll pick up on reading more easily than her brothers.

    Anyway, I guess one of the many advantages of homeschooling is the ability to tailor time and instruction to the individual needs of the kid. (And for the nay-sayers out there, they get a heck of a lot more socialization and participate in more activities than most kids do in school.)