Circle time is a really important part of the day for children within preschool, nurseries and kindergarten. It is a wonderful way for them to start off the day, or transition through an activity, or even finish of the day calmly. It is a great tool for the teacher – but what is it and how does it work?.
Also, what activities can be done on the carpet in circle time, and why is it such a benefit to children within those earlier years?
What is Circle Time
Circle time is a devise used by teachers and nursery/kindergarten staff to present a safe space for kids to sit and learn, usually as part of a transition from one activity, or part of the day to another.
Children will sit around in a circle, and either discuss a specific topic, perhaps as an opportunity to raise any specific issues within the class, e.g. too much noise, or alternatively to play games and talk to each other within a relaxed environment.
Often the kids are given an object of some sort to pass around to their class mates. The talking object could be something as simple as a little teddy bear, or a squishy ball.
It is important to make sure its not too distracting though *of course*
What are the benefits of Circle Time for kids
There are a number of reasons why Circle Time is helpful for our kids including:
The use of the talking object, and the skill of the teacher, enables kids that perhaps don’t always speak up to find their voice on the carpet.
Making sure we encourage our kids to be confident speakers, both with adults and kids, is important within the early years of their life. The sooner the better.
It is critical, however, in any Circle Time activity to allow children to choose not to speak or pass if they want to.
We all know our kids can have shy days, or be a little reticent to talk in class, and it is always vital to respect this on the Circle Time carpet.
Creating a routine
Circle Time is often at the start of the school day, and sometimes at the end, perhaps even with a book to capture the kids attention. This means that is creates a very definite routine for the kids; and any structure to the day can help younger children to understand what lies ahead and to feel much more comfortable about the school setting.
Many teachers also incorporate structure into circle time itself, for example also starting and finishing the time with the same activities, such as changing the weather chart, or acknowledging the birthdays of the day/week in their classes.
Planning the day
Alongside the way Circle Time brings a little routine to the school day, it presents an excellent opportunity for the kids to understand what they are going to be doing that day; from the activities that they will do, to the topics that they are going to cover.
Building a community feel
Because Circle Time means that the teacher, and the assistants, are all sat at the same level as the children, and all their class mates. It is a great way of developing a sense of “belonging” within the class, without the hierarchical layout that teaching from the “front” can potentially cause.
Teachers are there to facilitate within the circle to make sure that the chosen activities and topics move in the direction needed for the day.
This can really instil a sense of community within the class, and improve the relationships that kids have both with each other and with their teachers.
Many of the activities within Circle Time are designed to increase children’s concentration and their ability to listen to the teacher, and understand and interpret their classmates words.
Listening to music, a story, and another child’s thoughts and feelings is a massively important social skill for kids.
Circle Time offers an excellent, and usually calm setting for kids to express themselves while they have a captive audience.
What activities are done in Circle Time
Circle Time isn’t complete without suitable activities for the kids and there are even some specific Circle Time games available for children.
Some activities that work well in Circle Time that your child might enjoy at school include:
- Pretend play; Kids LOVE to pretend, so the teacher could suggest some “dramatic” ideas for the kids to take part in; from pretending to be some form of animal, to cooking with the alphabet, or just making a pretend cake. Using the kids imaginations in circle time to facilitate learning is so exciting for everyone.
- Listening to music (or reading a book aloud); Sometimes, particularly at the end of the day, Circle Time is designed to help the kids wind down. Listening to a specific piece of music, or reading aloud, just for a short time is a great idea to calm things at the end of the day.
- Pairing up; This is a lovely way for kids to mix it up a bit. Teachers can give the children something, anything, that goes together as a pair. They are then asked to find their partners. So for example; jigsaw pieces, or sets of cards, such as Fish N’ Chips, or Opposite words, or perhaps even colours, so Dark Blue vs Light Blue. As long as its a pair it works! It could even be expanded a little to give them all a fruit, and then they need to find all the fruit that’s the same colour, etc.
- Just talking; The teacher will enable the kids to just talk, using the talking object, about their day and how they are feeling. This really helps them to learn how to express their emotions, and finally
- Bring ALL THE SENSES into it all; It is a lovely idea for activities in Circle Time to use all the senses. Teachers will often use Circle Time to explore all five senses; such as messing about with sand, touching everyday objects and exploring taste, sounds and sight too. It is all about making learning fun, so it can be a great to expand the senses that children are encouraged to learn with.
Now you understand what Circle Time is all about, right? 😀
We hope you like these thoughts, perhaps you can use some of these activities suitable too?
- Finger puppets pretend play; a perfect idea for Circle Time and the home,
- Habitat sorting to mix up the activities you do to include a little bit of STEM fun,
- We have some great alphabet flash cards that could be fun to use in Circle Time and beyond, and
- Perhaps a little bit of a nudge to talk about any worries children may have with our worry tree.
How about some of these as well?
- No Time for Flash Cards has a lovely letter activity for the kids,
- If you are looking for literacy based activities then pop along to Growing Book by Book who has some excellent ideas,
- Mosswood Connections Circle Time game; “Do as I say, Not as I Do, which is a great activity to encourage listening and directions, and
- Preschool Inspirations has some great ideas for songs to sing too.
We trust you LOVE this little intro for parents to Circle Time, do let us know your thoughts, and we hope to see you again here soon.
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