Posted: 3rd March 2022

Headteacher at Leweston Prep, Miss Alanda Philips, has recently written a piece which was published in a book called ‘Love to Sleep’ – Good nights and happy days for your child and you by Eve Squires and Gemma Fryer.

A Headteacher on Sleep:

Slumping on the desks and yawning loudly are far from the only effects of a lack of sleep that teachers see each day. Over fifteen years of teaching, with the last five as a headteacher, I have seen hundreds of children consistently held back from reaching their potential because they are just too tired. A tired child arrives at school without the drive and determination needed to succeed, they lack clarity of thought as their exhausted brain swims through problems, and before long they just give up. In our five-year-olds, we see this largely exemplified in those children who fail to settle into school life, and who suffer emotional outbursts and cannot negotiate relationships effectively. Working alongside parents, we often establish that broken sleep, or insufficient sleep, might be at the root, and invariably an improvement in sleep pattern and timing directly leads to a better emotional stability.

A child who has had a goods night’s sleep arrives at school settled, happy and ready to learn. They develop the necessary resilience to ‘bounce back’ when they experience difficulties, and they are able to compromise, communicate and generally build and maintain relationships far more effectively. It is hard to over-state the impact that high-quality sleep has in all aspects of your child’s development in a school environment, without even touching on the benefits to family life that you will experience at home.

By the age of ten, we see a long-term impact. A lifetime of broken sleep and early exhaustion leaves them demotivated; failing to meet the expectations that were held for them in their early years. As bedtimes steadily creep later, and the pre-teen hormones take hold, we see them not only profoundly affected academically, but also witness the lack of emotional resilience that they need to handle the changes ahead of them. If teachers could be met with classes of well-rested children, there is no doubt that progress levels across the country would rise, but more than that, we would be one more step closer to supporting the development of a happy, resilient generation. I implore you to ensure that your child is one of those.

 

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