Letters to the Editor

Early to rise not necessarily wise

Dragging students out of bed before sunrise does little to promote learning, suggests letter-writer Jennifer Findlay. - File photo
Dragging students out of bed before sunrise does little to promote learning, suggests letter-writer Jennifer Findlay.
— image credit: File photo


Every morning, I tiptoe in to my teenagers’ bedrooms and rouse them from their deep sleep so they can get to school on time.

I always feel so bad having to drag them out of their warm beds while it’s still dark out.

Why must school start so early? Why can’t children – who studies have shown would benefit from more sleep – just sleep a little longer in the morning? Wouldn’t it make sense to start the school day just one hour later? Say 9:40 a.m., instead of 8:40?

Studies have shown that marks and productivity would go up significantly if our kids started their “work day” later, and ended it later. It makes sense, given their requirements for more sleep.

I challenge the powers-that-be to seriously consider this idea. Supposedly they’re studying the option of year-round school. Why not look at changing the actual school hours?

I know that people will rise to this question with every possible argument against it: What about parents who have to get to work in the morning? What about after-school activities? What about the teaching staff?

What if we ask the kids themselves – at 6:45 a.m.? I suspect I know what most teenagers will say. “I just need to sleep a little longer. Can I just miss my first class?”

I don’t share the opinion that we need to “toughen up” our kids for the “real world.” Soon enough, they’ll have to rise on their own with the alarm clock to get to work on time. Why not give them an opportunity for proper rest, while it’s possible and when they need it the most?

I’m suggesting there are ways to adapt to something new. The kids will happily adapt to more sleep. Caretakers can arrive in the morning, instead of the afternoon. Afternoon activities can adjust their schedules.

Teachers are adaptable, too. They manage quite well in schools where there are two shifts. In fact, I’m certain that teachers would love to see more alert children in classrooms.

Imagine the possibilities. Happier kids, healthier kids, more engaged kids, better grades. Just a thought.

Jennifer Findlay, Surrey



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