Should School Times Start Later?

The Industrial revolution changed not only when we work (earlier start, longer shifts) but also when we are required to wake up.

Human beings are programmed to follow the sun to bed and wake as the sky lightens. However, for most families, industrialization has meant waking long before sunrise to commute to work.

This shift threw our kids sleep under the bus too. Parents had to get to work earlier, so kids had to get to school earlier too. School used to begin around 9am but has started to shift earlier and earlier over the last 100 years.

Waking up earlier has led to many children and their parents not getting the sleep they require. It is a common phenomenon for young children to be woken between 4am and 5am in order for the family to be where they need to be by 7.30am.

In South Africa, this sleep crisis is felt more severely due to:

  • Our unreliable public transport system
  • The large distances between where we live and where we work
  • Our closest, local schools may not provide optimal education for our children
  • The high rates of unemployment leave many employees fearing that they could lose their job if they ask for a later start time to drop their children off at school

These are real logistical issues, but the question must be asked: Should school start times be set to fit around parents schedules or what the child needs to learn?

Our goal as a society should be to get kids to school ready to learn, not sleep deprived.

What time does your child start school and would you prefer them to start later?

We would love to hear from you.


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