Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Napping in Preschool Increases Learning

A recent study out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst confirms the importance of nap time in preschool.  Those who push for removal of nap time in favor of a more academic approach to preschool may have to take a step back and relook at the impact of midday napping on learning outcomes.

Researchers taught children a “Memory”-type (visual-spatial) game in the morning, then tested how much the children recalled that afternoon and the following day.  In one instance, the children napped on the afternoon that they were taught the game and in the second instance, they did not nap.  Overall, the children who napped performed 10% better than those who did not nap. 

In a world of increased academic pressure at earlier and earlier ages, some educators (or administrators) are trying to do away with nap time in favor of more instructional time.  While most of us who work with young children know that, for a variety of reasons, that’s a bad idea, outside pressures can sometimes result in poor practices.  Especially for publicly-funded programs, managers don’t always have a full range of decision-making authority for their programs.  This new research gives us all a bit more ammunition in the fight to protect nap time.  As research psychologist Rebecca Spencer stated, “We offer scientific evidence that the midday naps for preschoolers support the academic goals of early education.”

If you do not have a Rest Time Policy, check ours out here.

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