Imagine with me if you will....
It is mid-year in your preschool classroom and it is time for circle time. You are feeling a little dread because circle time is not your favorite time of the day. It is supposed to be an engaging time to build a class community and review some core skills. But, anymore it feels just routine. Kids are rolling, pinching, picking and talking. < None of which are a part of your circle time plan.
You started wondering why even bother with circle time. It seems like some 'right of passage' for preschool. But, you aren't feeling it. So, you do less and less of it. But, then you start wondering when you and your class are going to review some of those key skills like letter recognition or counting. There is small group time, but you feel like you need to do some review daily. You are also starting to miss that comradery that your circle time had at the beginning of the year. The class coming together and learning together - it can be such a powerful experience!
So maybe you'd like to have some sort of circle time with your class, but it needs some revamping.....
Does this experience sound at all familiar to you? Are you ready to make some changes in your circle time routine to keep it a fun and lively learning experience?
Check out these Quick Tips to Keep Circle Time Lively:
- A circle time that lasts too long can result in negative behaviors from students. How long is your circle time? Do you extend the time frame as the year goes on? At the beginning of the year I like to keep circle time short and sweet at around 10 minutes. As the year goes on I extend the time as student's attention spans increase and by the end of the year our circle time is roughly 15-20 minutes (at most).
- Consider your physical space. Do children sit on one large rug? If so, could you take the proactive route and add names to tape and create designated spots for each child. Or, do children have their own carpet squares which help define their personal space? Sometimes considering the space you have for students to sit can help management issues. Hearing "He is touching me!" or "She is sitting where I want to sit!" stops when spaces are defined.
- Keep students involved in circle time by giving out jobs within your circle time. Like, a calendar helper, weather watcher or song leader. You can also keep students involved by encouraging conversation and asking for student input.
- Shake up your routine by changing it up. Decide some 'core' activities you plan on doing every day (like calendar, weather or greeter) and change up some 'add-in' activities. For example, you could add in an estimation jar activity, nursery rhymes or student surveys. Bring in different add in activities every several weeks/months to keep things fresh!
I have found, after making some adjustments to my circle time that this time together can stay a positive learning experience with just a little bit of planning on my part. With an intentional plan in place my class is now rockin' circle time and loving every minute of it!
If you'd like, I have my sample circle time schedules for download below: