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Fayette-Mom: Nap mats, a blast from the past

Posted August 22, 2011

Jennifer Joyner

I was walking hurriedly into one of those big box retailers the other day when something in the corner of my eye caught my attention: Remember those plastic mats that we used for naps in kindergarten? One side is red, the other blue, and just the very sight of it conjured up so many memories of my first year of school at Liberty Christian in Durham.

You’ll forgive me if I haven’t thought of those mats in about 30 years. Why should I? I can’t even believe they sell them anymore, for I now have my second child going into kindergarten, and no where on any of the school supplies list does it even hint that these kids will be getting a nap time.

In fact, I hardly recognize kindergarten as it is in 2011. The supplies list is a mile long — and some of the stuff that is asked for is so out of this world to me. Glue sticks and crayons I get. Tennis balls? One white sock? Such random requests — and so expensive! Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me to see “iPad or something comparable.” (I’m kidding. Mostly).

While I did have a nap mat in kindergarten, I would almost swear I didn’t have a backpack, or even anything like it. But these days, backpack is at the very top of our kindergarten list (no wheels, please).

I won’t even tell you how much I spent on school supplies for my two elementary-aged kids. Suffice it to say, my husband is still in shock. And we haven’t even touched the teacher’s wish list! (Paper plates of assorted sizes we can handle; color ink jet cartridge? Hmmm……).

I’ll send my children on the first day of school loaded down with all the required items. But in my heart, I’ll be longing for the days of blue and red plastic mats…..

Jennifer is a mom of two and WRAL-TV assignment editor in Fayetteville. Her food obsession memoir, “Designated Fat Girl,” came out in September. Read more about Jennifer and her book on her website. Find her here on Go Ask Mom on Tuesdays.



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  • righthere1234 Aug 23, 2011

    I remember those mats. My parents were slackers and by the time they went to get my mat, they were all sold out so I had to get some excercise mat. I just can't believe how much Kindergarten has changed. My son doesn't start until next year, and I'm curious to see what we'll have to provide.

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Aug 23, 2011

    My teachers never asked for more than a box of kleenex from each student. There was always a box opened on teachers desk for us to wipe our runny noses.... Backpacks are REQUIRED? I never had a backpack.

  • margaretted Aug 22, 2011

    I teach kindergarten and we have those rest mats on our list. We use them half the year and then have to give up rest time(even though I always have several who could still use it). I use tennis balls to put on the bottom of chairs to prevent scratching our(non-carpeted)floor and also to cut down on the noise that 24 children make when pushing back their chairs. I ask for a black sock and each child wears it on their hand and uses it as an eraser when we use our whiteboards. I figure who doesn't have a stray, lone sock lying around? Kindergarten is much different than when I was in school, most kindergarteners are solving simple algebraic equations by the end of the year. And yes, in a workshop I just attended it was mentioned that somewhere in the near future, each class might be equiped with an ipad. It's not just all crayons and play-doh anymore, folks.

  • abswitala Aug 22, 2011

    The IPad thing made me think of my alma mater. I grew up going to a small public school in Iowa with a graduating class of 24! Today every student in 7-12 grade gets a laptop to use during the school year.

  • CricketGayle Aug 22, 2011

    Nope, we didn't have backpacks in Mrs. Gardner's class. :o) To be honest, the concept of buying "school supplies" back then was totally foreign. Basically all we had to have were those awful red or navy blue dresses which still make me shudder to this day.

    My son actually did have a nap mat last year. They only used them for about a month and then sent them home, so it was a waste of money. Most of the school supply requests seem pretty reasonable for his school, but they do add up to a lot of $$$. Of course, I buy plenty of extras. That way, I don't feel guilty for ignoring the requests for more crayons, pencils and glue sticks half-way through the year.