There are many different opportunities for children to learn all day long. Some of the activities are independent and child led, others are interactive and more teacher-led. Circle time is a great time to help children develop many different skills from interactions with others to language and literacy skills. Being prepared can help group time be successful for all. Here are five strategies to ensure a successful and meaningful group time.
1. Keep the length of circle time appropriate for the age of children; 5-10 minutes for toddlers and up to 15 minutes for preschoolers
2. The location of circle time is important; situated on a large rug, facing away from the entrance works well; using individual carpet squares or a laminated circle to designate each child’s ‘personal space’ can help children stay in place
3. Keep things interactive; read engaging stories, sing songs, and do action, finger plays
4. Make activities multisensory; children participate and understand better when they have something to see, hear, touch, even taste and smell!
5. Create a safe environment for children to express not only their thoughts but also their feelings; accept all children’s ideas and feelings compassionately and equally
Putting the time into planning and preparing for a successful circle time is well worth the time and effort!