Our daily Circle Time routine lasts about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the ages and interest of the children. We have 2 rooms so we use one room for our playroom and the other room is where we meet for circle time. This is also where we nap so there is a large open area kept clear of furniture, toys, and other distractions. This makes the room more conducive to learning with lots of room for dancing and group activities. Here is the general format we follow for our Circle Time routine. There wont be time to do everything but the guideline is set to pick and choose from.
1. Music & Movement
The first part of our group time is for music and movement. For the first song I choose a lively dancing song. I make sure everyone gets up and gets their arms and legs moving.
Next we have a song to listen to while sitting down. This song is used as a transition from the dancing activity to help get the children calm and settled. I bring out my flannel board and place illustrated cards or a book that goes along with the song being played. The children sit down with me in a circle to watch the cards and sing along. If they are still settling in and a little noisy it doesn't matter because the music is loud enough for all to hear above any talking.
4. Pledge of Allegiance, Attendance, and Name Recognition
Now that everyone is settled in and sitting together we will say the pledge and do some group activities like taking attendance, sharing, checking the weather, etc. Some days we will do this seperately from our circle time as a Morning Meeting
5. Numbers and Counting
Next we will review the numbers that have been introduced and/or have a number recognition and counting activity.
Flowers Count Down
Five little flowerw growing outdoors
(Child's name) picked one, and that left four.
Four little flowers, pretty as can be.
(Child's name) picked one and that left three.
Two little flowers nodding in the sun,
(Child's name) picked one, and that left one.
Three little flowers, growing by my shoe
(Child’s name) picked one, and that left two
One little flower,alone is no fun.
(Child's name) picked it, and that left none.
6. Letter, Shape, and Color of the week activity and Review
We have been using Frog Street Press Sing and Read books for Letters, Shapes, and Colors learning with great success. There is a book and song for each letter, shape, and color. During our circle time routine we will sing and read the song for the letter, color, and shape of the week and review one that we have already done. I highly recommend these products.
For more information about Frog Street Press Products
Then we have a flannel board story. I have purchased or created several of these stories which I cycle through and for variety we participate in the Traveling Tales program through the library which provides us with a themed storytelling kit every week.
For more information about the Traveling Tales program...
To finish we read two or three books depending on the length. Again we are provided with a wonderful variety through the Traveing Tales weekly kit and the others from our classroom library.
We always end our Circle Time singing Skinnamarink. We use ASL signs for the parts in the song when we sing, I love you, Morning, Noon, Night, and Moon. I say I love you pointing to each child and they say I love you to each other too.
The key to successful education through circle time is to assess each child to determine their needs and then find what works for the individual child. I try to find something that interests the children and engages them to keep them involved and enjoying the learning process. Variety is vital so I keep a large supply of interactive songs, games, stories, props, etc. to cycle through to keep our group time fresh.
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