Friday, March 4, 2011

Circle time

Circle Time is a wonderful opportunity for anybody in a classroom (or even at home if homeschooling) to share important learning and bonding experiences with preschoolers. This is one of my favourite parts of our schedule. Children at that age (3-5) thrive with routines. When they know what to expect from the day they are definitely more open to learning (well, that's my own experience anyway). OK. Their attention spans are still quite short. So I make sure to keep circle time to no longer than 15 minutes. So what do we do? Well, I follow the same pattern everyday and I found that by doing so, children are more likely to participate.

At circle time, we all sit on the mat in the book corner. Some sit on the cushions I have provided. Others prefer to sit on the bench (yes, yes I know. I should have included a picture of the corner!!! I promise I will oblige soon. I am working on another post in which I give you all a little tour of our classroom). All the children attention will focus on the daily chart we use to talk about the season, the date and the weather. I don't use a season wheel, nor do I have a fancy wooden calendar. What I use is a simple green fabric board with 4 rows of plastic pockets, as shown below:

I use the first row to reinforce the kids' concept of time, focusing on the season, the month and the day of the week. We have a simple little song, sung to the tune of “Oh My Darling, Clementine”:

There are 7 days, there are 7 days, there are 7 days in the week
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

Then the children put their hands up and one of them tells us which day of the week it is. I always remind them of yesterday and tomorrow to reinforce the whole concept. 


The second row is used to talk about the weather. I have made my own little laminated pictures for the weather as you can see above. Here is what we sing together (I didn't want to film the children so I filmed the board instead but sideways! Lol! So apologies for this)

Aren't they so cute? You should see their little faces especially when I told them I was recording them! Of course they asked to listen to it afterwards (again and again)and thought it was quite funny!! Giggles, giggles, giggles. 

Once we have described the weather, we quickly talk about what type of clothes we should be wearing : hats, gloves, coats, jumpers etc... They LOVE that part as it is a way for them to show off their new shoes, or their favourite hoody, etc... God bless them!

After all that, we usually discuss our current theme. Or we read a story.

So that is it! Now you have a glimpse at what we do at circle time. Though we follow the same pattern every day, if one of the kids suddenly diverts onto a different subject (a trip to the zoo, a visit to the doctor, a day at the park, etc..), we allow ourselves to be sidetracked and let conversations go free. It is usually quite.... interesting (let me put it that way!!).

Post update on 06/01/12: I have changed our calendar routine since I wrote this post. Please see for yourself and click on this link. Thank you.

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