In our Baby Room, educators gather information from families at orientation regarding their preferred sleeping practices. Our aim is to maintain consistency between home and the centre as much as possible. Educators work in partnership with families on an on-going basis to plan how each child's individual routine will be met, bearing in mind the needs of the group. Two comfortable and inviting cot rooms, accessible from the play room, ensure educators have vision of our younger babies sleeping.
In our Toddler and Preschool rooms, educators and families will discuss the sleep/rest requirements for each individual child on a regular basis. Sleeping well and learning to rest is vital to the overall development of children. No child will ever be forced to sleep nor prevented from sleeping, however children will be encouraged to rest quietly on their beds for a 30 minute rest period unless educators and families agree the child does not need to rest. Provision is made for those that require more sleep by placing the beds of sleeping children together in quieter areas of the room. As the year progresses and/or the need for sleep decreases, the length of rest time decreases. Quiet activities are provided for our non-sleepers.
Sleep sheets are provided for babies who sleep in the cots. For all other children families provide a sheet, blanket and sheet bag, clearly labelled with their child's name. A standard cot sheet will fit the older children's beds.
In all rooms, educators:
- ensure rest time is a time to relax and unwind in a quiet, calm environment and create a relaxed atmosphere by playing soft background music, closing of curtains, turning off fluorescent lights and ensuring children are comfortably clothed. Children are encouraged to remove shoes, jumpers, jackets, and bulky clothing. Room temperature will be considered to ensure maximum comfort for the children.
- ensure that children's beds and cots are evenly spaced to allow easy access for children and educators. Children are placed head to toe to minimize the spread of infectious diseases.
- allow for children to wind down, relax and settle in to rest time. This may be reading stories, a small quiet group time, or listening to a story on CD. Children need sufficient time to wind down after a busy playtime. During this time we encourage children to go to the toilet and/or have nappies changed. We ensure each child and their clothing is clean and appropriate for sleeping. This is a good opportunity for children to develop self-help skills.
- sit with individuals to ensure children are given the opportunity to rest and encourage the relaxing of bodies. By providing a quiet, tranquil environment children will choose to sleep if their bodies need it. A gentle stroke or pat may be given until they feel more relaxed, but we try to support and encourage all our children to become able to put themselves to sleep.