How can you make the most of Circle Time? How can you help your children build relationships, practice active listening, and explore ways to communicate their feelings and ideas? Try these 3 Circle Time Tips:
Circle Time Tip #1: Make It Routine
Follow a consistent routine to help children know what to expect and to decrease any fear of the unknown. This helps children feel safe and ready to learn. We follow the same routine daily with the Mother Goose Time preschool curriculum. Although there is consistency in the order of activities, we change the materials, songs, books and tools to create a vibrant and exciting experience. An example of a typical routine with Mother Goose Time includes:
- Greeting Song
- Big Question of the Day Discussion
- Helper of the Day – Calendar and Weather
- Concept Discovery (Letters, phonics, numbers, color, shape, country)
- Music and Movement
Be routine but be responsive to the interests, questions and ideas of the children.
Circle Time Tip #2: Involve Everyone
Create an environment where all children can be actively involved in their own way. Some children may need to share an unrelated story about their kitty, while other children may not want to share anything on or off topic. Be sensitive to each child’s needs and find unique ways to express understanding, compassion and encouragement to them.
Here are some tips to help children know that they belong within the community and that you value them as an individual:
- Special spot: Place a piece of tape on the ground or tape down pictures of letters, animals or shapes. Encourage children to always return to their “special spot” when beginning Circle Time.
- Special name: When singing songs or rhymes, insert one child’s name in the verse. Celebrate that child. Try it now with this simple Sing-a-long for Circle Time. (Need song here??)
Circle Time Tip #3: Short, Sweet and Sensory
Toddlers have a maximum attention span of 5 to 10 minutes. Preschoolers aged 3-5 years old can only attend for up to 15 minutes. By keeping your Circle Time short, sweet and sensory, children will be and feel successful.
- Sensory: Make sure the children are always doing something: What are they touching, moving, seeing or creating? Circle Time should engage the whole child and help them feel confident and ready to learn with their whole mind and body.
- Be sweet and smile: Children can sense your mood. Start the day with a smile, be excited about Circle Time and communicate how happy you are to see each child. Be ready to adjust what you do during Circle Time to balance your goals with the needs of the child. Focus on creating a joyful start to a day of learning. Smiles are contagious!
Read a sample Circle Time Plan