Cots or Mats

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by PreTeacher, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. PreTeacher

    PreTeacher Rookie

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    Apr 6, 2008

    Hi,
    What are some pros and cons on mats vs. cots

    Cots seem like they would be more comfortable, and be less easy for the children to slide closer to another child and disturb them...

    Looking for teachers with lots of naptime experience :)
    Thanks!
     
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  3. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    Apr 6, 2008

    Depends on how old the children are.

    Cots are for babies, probably up to 18 months old. A child out grows the cot when they can climb out of it, as which time, it becomes a safety issue. They need clean bedding each day (same child in the cot).

    I have worked in a room of 18 months to 2 and half year olds and we had mats. The mats hung up on the wall using two eyelets. The children brought a sheet to cover the mat. There was no problem with children straying off their mat as they were so tired. Cots take up a lot of space.

    In the 3 - 5 year old programmes that I've seen. They again used mats. These mats stacked (so they did not touch each other for hygiene purposes). All mats had to be wiped with disinfectant.

    At my son's preschool they used fold away camp beds. The children had to make their own bed (a bottom sheet with 4 pieces of elastic {one on each corner] and a top sheet). When the children had made their bed they helped someone else, or if they couldn't do it themselves they had to ask a friend for help (being able to cooperate).

    I'm all for mats and getting the children to do as much as possible, it can be hectic making 25 beds!!
     
  4. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    Apr 6, 2008

    I forgot to say, that the golden rule was for the children to stay on their mat. I insisted 20 minutes rest time (curtains closed and relaxing music on). After this time, those who were not asleep went to tables for quiet activities such as colouring or puzzles.

    New students who did not know this rule were taken back to their mat and the rule reiterated to them - 20 minutes to rest your body and rest your mind. I know one centre who would allow books on mats or had clipboards with paper for the kids to draw on.
     
  5. Hannah's Place

    Hannah's Place Rookie

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    My personal preference in my set up is mats...take up much less room, allows the child to help get his own mat/clean up his own mat and are very easy to disinfect. They are not too expensive, and all but one of my mats has lasted 2 yrs. now. They hold up well (as long as they do not double as physical fitness mats!!).
    Yes, on a mat children can easily get up, but same goes for cots. The stackable kind are low to the ground and kids get off them as easily as a mat. I found when I used those that they take up so much valuable space, plus try moving a stack of them!
    I guess it depends on your preference and how much room you have.
    My older kids (3 and up) are allowed books to read while on mats, but must remain on them for an hour (in my opinion they need that rest time). Although I have to say all of my kids sleep for at least an hour (so far!!).
     
  6. memeskids

    memeskids Rookie

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    Cots are the only thing that our center has ever used. I would love to have the extra space that fold up mats would give.
    We have stackable cots that are on rollers so they are easy to move anywhere in the room. The drawbacks are that they do take up more space and they are heavier when getting out and putting away.
     
  7. tracer330

    tracer330 Rookie

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    i have only ever dealt with cots; the children don't move them during nap time and they generally stay on them; i have one in particular who tends to move around and do flips on his cot, but i have a feeling he'd do it on a mat too; i have a designated spot for my cots, which i figure into the set-up of my classroom; my kids each have their own cot, none of them have to share; they use the same bedding for a week and it gets washed on fridays; according to child care administration regulations, when our cots are stacked, bedding needs to be contained to each individual cot, no bedding hanging off onto other cots (not to mention that fact that this just looks messy); when we opened a new classroom last year (not my room) the director ordered mats insteat of new cots, most likely because they were cheaper; the parents were actually really upset about the mats, i think mostly because of the comfort issues and the closeness to the floor; although i like using cots, there are a few things i'm not always happy with; although they're not supposed to, i always have kids who tend to jump around on their cot at nap time or climb up the stack of cots or step on cots when they're set out; i always tell the children not to do this, and i try to prevent it, but it seems inevitable; when this happens too much, the fabric on the cots rips off the frame; also, when the kids are stacking their cots or setting them out, it can be a bit chaotic because of the size of the cots; i worked at one center that had a stand for the cots with wheels and after nap time, they wheeled the cots into a storage closet
     
  8. RedFox

    RedFox Rookie

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    I am a first-year teacher, so I do not have a ton of experience, but I can add what I have experienced...

    In my pre-K class we have mats. I like them because the kids can be pretty independent with them: they can retrieve their own mat from the closet, put their own sheets on it (Of 13 children in my class 11 can consistently do this independently), and after nap time, take sheets off their bed and return their mat to the closet. I like that the mats take up little room (bottom part of the closet) and are very easy to clean. I will say that they do rip/tear over time, but the ones we have this year have been pretty good.

    Never having used cots, I can't compare, but I am happy with using the mats.
     
  9. hdb2008

    hdb2008 Rookie

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    I have used both cots and mats, and for me mats were always better to use. They are not as heavy and most of the children can help you put them aways after rest time is over. During the three years that I used mats we only had two (out of 22) mats to become damaged. They are much cheaper than cots and easier to replace.
     
  10. msaly

    msaly Comrade

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    Ive never used anything but cots. I dont think i would like mats though, I dont like how close they are to the floor. Our cots are stackable and after nap time they are put away in storage room, so they dont take up space in my classroom. They are easy to disinfect. I dont have a problem with the kids moving them or not staying on them
     
  11. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    We have cots, they're low to the group and stack in a big stack (on a set of orllars) when they're not being used. We use these from toddler room on up (infant room of course has cribs). We put a sheet on them Monday mornings, and the kids take their own sheets off on Fridays after nap. They bring blankets, etc. from home, which they store in their cubbies. It's their job to get their own blankets and put them away. They also LOVE to bring the cots over to me or my co-teacher after nap time. We didn't start this til November or so, but now they can all safely manage bringing them to us so we can stack them. They stack with some "air space" between them so they have an opportunity to air out. If a kid has an accident on their cot, the sheet can easily be taken off and the cot disinfected.
     
  12. PreTeacher

    PreTeacher Rookie

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    Thanks for the great answers.

    How do the cots stack with the sheets on them? Doesn't it interfere with the stacking holes?

    Thanks.
     
  13. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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  14. RainStorm

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    To the poster from Queensland -- I think there is a slight confusion due to the use of different words in different English-speaking countries. In the USA what we call a cot, you call a camp bed. What we call a crib, you call a cot. What we call a mat, you call a mat. :)
     
  15. memeskids

    memeskids Rookie

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    We cannot have children's bedding touching. We pull the ends of the sheets up and off the ends of the cots so that the bedding does not touch when we stack them. Plus they do stack better when there is no bedding in the way.
     
  16. ksmomy

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    I have used cots and mats. I really like the cots because of the sanitation reasons and they are just much neater. The mats I was always used to used to develop tears in the creases from folding and unfolding and I like the fact that the cots are off the ground some. The mats are directly on the floor. Space is not an issue because we have a little area with a partial wall that was made especially for our cot stacking area. I teach Pre-K and the kids bring their cots over to us as we call them so we can stack them.
     
  17. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    mats seem more comfortable, IMO and more sanitary. As everyone else says...cots have sheets, and blankets..and most centers have their own washers/dryers, or cleaning services. If not, kids bring their own blankets.

    I have only seen mats for toddlers and infants...based on the theory that it is safer to have them on the floor, than run the risk of having them fall. I just think that having a cot is better, as it elevates them away from drafts, and protects from any spills or liquids on the floor, and reduces the chances of getting stepped on!

    example, if a kid pees, it will soak up his clothes, and then his sheet/blanket and cot, then on the floor..(where hopefully somebody will notice at this point!) But if two kids are 18 inches apart, and sleep on mats on the floor, if a kid pees twice, he will certainly wet up the mat, and it will soak thru to the next kid!

    Of course, cots will strain your back, because they are about 10 pounds, and that's lifting and stacking every day....

    I have seen other threads where kids pull their own cots over to the teacher, and take off sheets. I think some older kids can, but it makes me nervous to have little ones drag cots around the room. the mix of kids pulling off sheets, pushing or dragging cots around, and you lifting them up and stacking them...I don't agree with..

    not my favorite time of the day...as you can tell
     
  18. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    sheets are tied in the corners, but many kids like to untie them, and tie them in double knots! Some have elastic that slips over the legs. As you can see by Lakeshore's catalog, the cots stack on the legs inside the holes.

    http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/search/results.jsp
     
  19. hawkeye

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    Our preschool uses cots - I like them as they are porous and allow more breathing room, less sweating etc and are cooler. But ive worked in centers who use mats. I personally don't like mats cuz they my kids all wake up sweaty
     
  20. tgpii

    tgpii Comrade

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    I never used anything but cots. One place I worked at we washed the cots sheets. The cots there were a metal/plastic frame with a cotton washable sheet. Every other place had a metal/plastic frame that had like a vinyl webbing. The children bring a fitted sheet from home to go on them.(single bed size). Is there state/local laws on what you can use? Most places changed nap time to rest period. You can't don't have to make them sleep but in most states you have to give a rest period up to age 4? I am in the National Guard and cots remind me of my army days lol.
     
  21. hawkeye

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    In texas its age 5 and they have to rest for an hour and a half before anything but mY kids sleep cuz my kids get in trouble if they dont - the state dont work with grumpy and sleepy kids
     
  22. sarzacsmom

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    We use mats and the children bring in their own sleeping bags or blankets that are big enough to fold in half. They lay on one half and cover up with the other. Until recently the kids have wiped down theri ats after we sprayed them, but now the state is chnaging the regs so we cna't let them anymore---even t hought he bleach and water combination is less strong then a cl=hlorinates swimming pool ratin-- but anyway--they are stored onto p of the cubbies in the hall way so they take u p no space in the classrooms---they are cushiony and the kids sleep very well.
     
  23. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    We use mats and the children bring in their own sleeping bags or blankets that are big enough to fold in half. They lay on one half and cover up with the other. Until recently the kids have wiped down their mats after we sprayed them, but now the state is changing the regs so we can't let them do it anymore---even though the bleach and water combination is less strong then a chlorinated swimming pool ratio-- but anyway--they are stored on
    top of the cubbies in the hall way so they take up no space in the classrooms---they are cushiony and the kids sleep very well on them. Each Friday the parents take the bedding home to be washed (unless a child has an "accident" --then it is taken home the same day!
     
  24. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Jun 24, 2008

    Here in D.C., there is no choice. Licensing says we can only use cots.

    Having worked in other places where we've had both, I'd say there's pros and cons to each... but generally, I find cots to be more durable.
     
  25. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    I have cots. They are the Angeles standard cots. They last for years and are really comfortable. The children bring their own blanket/pillow which are sent home each Friday to be laundered and returned on Monday. Every Friday we spray the cots with Lysol spray and every month we wipe them down with bleach water. I like the way that the rest surface of the cots don't touch and on the standard cots there's enough space between each cot for small blankets/pillows to be stored. We stack ours on a rolling cart thing and store them in the hallway outside the classroom door. I've been using cots now for about 10 years and I hope I never have to go back to mats. I found mats to be a lot more trouble to store and could never figure out a good way to keep them separated.
     
  26. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    Our mats fold up so the sleeping surfaces don't touch when they are stacked on top of the children's cubbies in the hallway out side the classroom.
     
  27. Edu Katy

    Edu Katy Rookie

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    I have used towels, mats and cots. I prefer the cots for my 3's & 4's. They are low to the floor but they climb onto them and they sink down just enough that they feel safe. I have never had a child get off their cot but I have had to send so many children back to their mat or towel. The cots are heavier and they do take up spce but they work great. Each child has their own cot and they love it.
     

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