If you have a full day preschool, nap time is just as important as any other part of your day. Being well rested helps your preschoolers focus and maintain attention. It also greatly improves their mood, which helps them to better handle transitions and how they interact with their peers. If you work with preschoolers, you already know that managing big emotions is still quite difficult for some, and are only made worse when they do not have adequate rest. Nap time is a great time for teachers to get things done too. Here are some things to do during your preschool nap time, after all the kids are asleep, that will also help you manage a healthy work/life balance.
Even when your preschoolers love to help cleanup, there is still always cleaning to do. Especially right after lunch. The tables need to be washed and disinfected. The floors need to be swept and mopped. Nap time is a great time to get in a little extra cleaning, too. It’s the perfect time to disinfect toys since the children are away from them for awhile. Create a schedule for when materials in each center will be sanitized and disinfected.
For example, Mondays could be for cleaning and disinfecting the dramatic play center. Tuesdays could be the day to clean and disinfect the art and easel center. Wednesday could be the day set aside for cleaning and disinfecting the building, blocks, and loose parts center, and so on.
Cleaning during your preschool nap time will save you time at the end of the day, so that you don’t have to use your personal time for caring for the classroom. It will also benefit your preschoolers in the way of health and safety.
Use nap time to plan your curriculum based on your preschoolers’ interests. The observations you made throughout the morning are fresh on your mind, so it’s the perfect time to use those to inform your intentional curriculum planning. If you noticed a child having some trouble with holding scissors correctly, then you know you need some fine motor strengthening activities in your curriculum, as well as more scissor practice and instruction.
WORK ON PORTFOLIOS
It is important to work on your preschoolers’ portfolios regularly in order to keep up with them, and to stay organized. If you keep a clipboard with sticker labels in each of your preschool centers, then it will not take long at all to update your preschoolers’ portfolios each day. Just take the sticker labels for each child’s portfolio and add them to a page in the their portfolio. Then you can add a photo to go with it or a piece of their work. Don’t forget to add the learning objectives that were met through the work that the child did. Having a scheduled time to work on your preschoolers’ portfolios built into your preschool day will streamline the process and help keep you from working on them on your personal time.
COMMUNICATE WITH PARENTS
Open communication with your preschoolers’ families builds trust and stronger relationships. You can use nap time to fill out daily communication sheets to send home with your preschoolers, or write up a weekly newsletter. If you use a preschool or child care Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, then nap time is a great time for you to quickly communicate with all of your preschool families through the CRM that you use.
There is a lot that you can do during your preschool nap time, but don’t feel like you have to do it all every day. Be intentional with your time though, and have a plan. This will help you make the most of your time without overwhelming you with a over burdened to-do list.