Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Blog, Developmentally Appropriate Practice, My Child Won't, Need To Know Info For Parents, Teaching Strategies |

How Preschool Teachers Get Kids To Nap

How Preschool Teachers Get Kids To Nap

I hear it every year. “How do you get kids to nap? He doesn’t do that for us at home.” Children in group care are expected help at clean up time, clear their own lunch and snack, set up their own cot with blanket and bear, even perform classroom jobs. I always complement parents with my reply…”It shows he’s been listening to you. He knows what you expect from him when he’s away from home.”

Make Your Expectations Clear

It’s all about our expectations. A seasoned teacher and mentor of mine (even if she didn’t know it) used to say that “Children will rise to meet our expectations.” I’ve come to see its true.

This is as true at nap time as it is throughout the day. Parents often don’t think their child will nap at school. With the different surroundings, different routines, parents often are apprehensive about nap time. The best teachers aprroach nap time with high expectations for each child. Our expectations will evolve throughout the year with the children’s growth and development.

Will all children nap? Not every day, but all of the children will rest their bodies and have some down time. Teachers want their children to be successful all throughout their day. A can-do attitude is as important at nap time as any other time of day. This is what parents need to know.

Nap time is planned for just as circle time or morning meeting is. We put as much thought into nap time as other parts of the children’s day. We put their cots out with thought as to who will likely talk and play together, who can tolerate the door opening when teachers come and go covering each other’s break, which children need to be in the darkest spot, etc.

Teachers implement their nap time plan, give the plan time for children to assimilate, asses what works and what’s not working, make changes as needed.

First Things First

First, we expect children to be active. Active playground/gym time is so important for developing body’s and minds. Even in the middle of winter bundle them (and you) up and get outside! When it’s too cold to go outside kids will still need active play. Teachers know how to integrate active play into each day’s plan. So now that the kids (and you) are worn out it’s time to think about the next step.

Routine, Routine, Routine.

Children do best when they know what to expect next. Just as with the other parts of their day a set routine that rarely changes will help every child succeed. Just as we advise parents to make bed time very routine we do the same with nap time. Read a story, put on quiet music, and EVERYONE GOES POTTY! lol

One of the best blog posts I’ve seen on the topic of preschool nap time is Vanessa Levin does an interview with the blogger from that is great.

We begin with a clam, relaxed transition. “Put your blankets on your cots then meet me in the book area.” Read a quick, calming story, or some deep breathing exercises, release children in small groups.

It’s helpful at the start of the new year that each of the children get a little one on one at nap time. This lets them know you care about their nap, if it’s important to you it will become important to them. Maybe tuck each child in with a quick “Snug as a bug in a rug.” or “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” This might be more than some of your children get before bedtime at home. Toddlers obviously will need more (and earlier) nap than 3’s or 4’s.

Some teachers introduce chapter books at nap so children use their imaginations rather than illustrations. Still other teachers use books on tape or cd but again no book, just listen. Whatever routine you decide on keep it simple and keep it the same. Some states regulate how long of a nap time must be offered but generally 2 hours is the maximum.

Tips and Advice

  • Just as kids who help grow and cook their own meals are more likely to eat the meal, kids who set up their own cots will be more likely to rest.
  • Teachers give each child a moment to tuck in and say sleep well.
  • Dim the lights put on quiet (classical) music. Choose music that is exclusive to naptime, it’ll be an audio cue to sleep.
  • Teach naptime skills. Roll play if it’s difficult.
  • Follow children’s developmental abilities. Start at the beginning of the year with shorter books, longer one on one, backs rubbed. Later in the year longer chapter books, quicker tucking in.
  • Plan for non-resters. Quiet bins, small flannel boards, books will come in handy. Oxy-moron: naptime activities.  😉
  • Check state regulations for nap time requirements. Some require 2 hours of nap time daily, others only require 15 minutes of rest to be offered.
  • Stay present while busying yourself. Children know you you are still observing them while you get work done.
  • When nap is over wake the children calmly and individually. Turn the lights on last!
  • Check out my other posts on the topic of sleep herehere, and here.

Read More

Posted by on Nov 24, 2016 in Autumn, Blog, Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Families, Holidays, November Themes, Thanks Giving |

November Themes Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

November Themes Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

November Themes:

I was recently asked if teachers can uphold developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) with a theme based curriculum. I quickly answerd “Of course we can! We do it every day!” So here I am a few days later double checking. On second thought, I’d say, there’s always room for improvement but it can be done. Here are the fundamentals of DAP from NAEYC:   Knowing about child development and learning. So learning about the theories and findings of psychologist Jean Piaget, cognitive development theorist Lev Vygotsky, and Erik Erikson, psychosocial theorist, is an important beginning. Knowing what is individually appropriate. Forming strong relationships with children and observing their play is the only way to know what’s individually appropriate in your classroom. Knowing what is culturally important. Again, strong relationships are the answer here. Only the families you work with can tell you what’s culturally important to them.

Now probobly not all of the activities below are DAP, but all of the children, and even the teachers had fun!

Our themes for November are Farm, Healthy Food, Family, Giving Thanks.


cows in the barn    Classifying Farm Animals By Type

Farm animals for sorting and classifying.

Take a cow for a walk. Or try pigs in the mud!

Take a cow for a walk. Or try pigs in the mud!

“Milking” the cows-

Use vinal gloves. Fill with warm water and a drop of white paint and tie closed. Use a pin to poke holes in each finger. Kids squeeze the "milk" out.

Use vinal gloves. Fill with warm water and a drop of white paint and tie closed. Use a pin to poke holes in each finger. Kids squeeze the “milk” out.

The 3 Little Pigs story goes nicely with ths theme. We tell the strory on the felt board, we watch the old classic on You Tube and we read this version of the story. The children love to  act out the story with the masks pictured below.

3 Little Pigs Straw House    3 Little Pigs Stick House   3 Pigs Brick House   3 Little Pigs Masks

3 Little Pigs Houses. Mask patterns are FREE at Printables! 

Butterscotch chips melted   Chow mein noodles mixed into melted butterscotch   Tip the treat out of cup onto wax paper. Be sure to get a picture before the hey stacks are gone!   Edible Hay Stacks

Hay Stacks Cookies. Butterscotch chips melted over chow mein noodles.

Large Motor Games

a Gym isn’t required for these games any large open space like your circle time area will do.

In the gym we pretend to be animals running all around. So we show them at first then it becomes a crazy free for all! Chickens and horses are the favorites!

Another fun game is called “Seeping Cows”. The children lie down and pretend to sleep. While they lay there they listen carfully to the little song I sing to find out what farm animal they should be when they wake up. The song goes like this: See the sleeping cows, till it’s nearly noon. Come let us wake them with a merry tune. Oh so still, are they ill? WAKE  UP Sleeping Cows! So they wake up making cow sounds. Fun stuff!

Healthy Foods

Healthy Food - Unhealthy Junk Food  We made a chart to differentiate healthy from junk food.

Animals in the grass   Cream Cheese with a drop or two green food color. Put your animal in!

Animals in the grass

Animals in the grass

Healthy foods in the cornucopia.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-1-11-22-am  Children filling the cornucopia  Full Cornucopia


We have the parents send in family photos which we scrapbook onto an individual house patterens, one for each child. We hang the houses on a large bulletin board through December. Then we bind them into a book which becomes so popular the kids argue over who gets a turn with the family book! I can’t show you the book here because I won’t put the children’s pictures online.

Our Homes - dictate who kids say is in their families onto the inside folds of these homes

Our Homes – dictate who kids say is in their families onto the inside folds of these homes.

We can flip this house!

We can flip this house!

Giving Thanks

The first thing we do is talk about the feeling of thankfulness. We relate it to reccieving a gift. We teach the children to say thank you with words and sign.

ASL Thank You

Thankful Turkey Every child gets a feather and dictates what or who they’re thankful for.

And for open ended art the children paint with feathers, because you know feathers grow on turkeys!

Painting With Feathers   Painting With Feathers 2

Read More