13 Mar

From the Head of Early Years – Sarah Noell

At SPW Early Learning Centre we value the importance of sleep for the health and wellbeing of all our students.

We know children who are regularly sleeping for the recommended amount of time are more able to concentrate, play successfully with others and learn.

The recommended hours of sleep for children

The Raising Children Networks provides the following guidelines for the recommended hours of sleep for children at different age ranges.

Ages 2 to 3: 11 to 14 hours (day nap approx 1-2 hours)

Ages 3 to 5: 10 to 13 hours (day nap approx 1 hour)

From about 5 years of age: most children no longer need a day napBoy and girl resting in the Early Learning Centre

How do we cater for children’s sleeping needs in the ELC?

In our ELC we continually differentiate in all areas of child development, including children’s sleeping needs. We pride ourselves on working together with families to ensure we are meeting every child’s best interests.

We know for many families it can be challenging when their child’s sleeping patterns at night begin to change due to the amount of time their child has slept during the day. In this instance we collaborate with families to ensure we provide their child with restful activities like reading a book, colouring in or drawing whilst resting their bodies, instead of sleeping. This rest option occurs at the same time as nap time for those children that still need to sleep.

On some occasions children will fall asleep whilst resting because ELC days can be very busy and tiring. If this occurs our educators refer to best practice in allowing children to complete a sleep cycle before supporting them to wake up. Cycles of sleep last 30-50 minutes in babies, then gradually increase in length across childhood. Children usually wake briefly at the end of each sleep cycle and this is the moment when our educators will support children to wake if parents ask us to be mindful of sleep times.

We understand children’s rest and sleep needs can change regularly due to poor health, social outings, hot weather etc. If your child is presenting signs of needing a rest outside of our regular programmed sleep/rest time we will provide them with a space and opportunity to sleep or rest.

This practice ensures we are meeting the National Quality Framework (NQF) operational requirement and the Education and Care Services National Regulations around sleep. Our practice is also in keeping with the SPW ELC Sleep, Rest, Relaxation & Clothing Policy.

As routine is important for children, each room in the ELC has clearly established routines and expectations around sleep and rest times.

Programmed Sleep and Rest Times in the ELC

Our 2 years olds typically rest from 12.00 until 2.00pm.

Our 3 year olds typically rest from 12.30 until 2.00pm.

Our 4 year olds typically rest from 1.00pm until 2.00pm.

Please ensure you continue to work with your child’s teacher to discuss changes in your child’s sleep patterns as needed.

Resources for parents

To access further information about the importance of sleep for the health and wellbeing for children the following governing bodies provide best practice recommendations.

South Australian Legislation

Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority

Thanks to Sarah Noell, Head of the Early Years at SPW , for sharing this story with our community. If you have any questions about how we support children’s health and wellbeing in the Early Learning Centre at SPW, please contact Sarah Noell.