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Lead from the Start: Circle Time

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Circle Time

It occurred to me after looking at my google analytics that most of my website hits were from people looking for information about how to "do" circle time in a preschool. So, I decided to give the people what they want. I will not focus on the details of the enterprise, like specific songs, finger plays, etc. although I will include those. I will talk about how and why we do circle time and the strategies, as opposed to activities that are most successful at reaching those ends.

So I will start like I start circle time. I just start.

That is the key for me to getting the learning ball rolling. I will take down my guitar or just start singing. When I first began teaching I would try to get all of the kids quiet before I started. I wanted to make sure I was the center of attention.

Over time though I have realized that teaching is not really about me although I am the instrument for what it is about, learning. I know I can't teach without engagement so I try to do something fun to start off. I also don't wait for every student to be in the circle before I start. In my school we come from breakfast and must go to the bathroom and wash our hands first thing. Getting all 18 students cycled through this can be time consuming so, I focus on making "circle time" THE place to be, as opposed to in the bathroom or playing in the water at the sink.
With the weight of interest in the circle it is much easier to get the entire class moving in the same direction. Right now my favorite way to start is with the song: I Like the Way that They Stack the Hay by Ella Jenkins from This A Way That Away.



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