Circle Time in Early Childhood
As an Early Childhood Educator, circle time is really important. It provides a great opportunity for language practice, it is fun and students enjoy it.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Ligia O. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What is Circle Time?
Circle time can start at the beginning of the day as it is a great way to greet students and set goals for the day. Teachers can have a specific space in the classroom for circle time. Some have rugs and give each student a specific place to sit down.
Greeting students is a great opportunity to sing and practice English. The teacher greets every student and students greet each other. The song must be the same every day so students can remember and practice it.
Ideally, just like the name, students form a circle and the teacher sits in the middle. All students have to be able to see the teacher.
Another aspect to consider is that circle time should not take a long time. For Early Childhood, twenty to twenty-five minutes is enough. During circle time, students should be able to move. They can sit or stand depending on the activity. If the teacher notices that students are starting to be distracted, the best option is to change the activity or the movement. This can be done with a song or rhyme. It is important to remember that young learners have a short attention span and learn better when the activity is dynamic.
Circle time should be predictable. This will make it easier for students to follow. The daily routine can include the calendar, weather, that day’s schedule, and vocabulary activities.
Songs, rhymes, games, and stories should be included. Songs are perfect to practice simple vocabulary and students enjoy them. Rhymes and games are great to practice vocabulary, repetition and simple sentences. Stories are a dynamic way to practice English. Students can make predictions, ask questions and practice listening skills.
With the calendar, students can practice counting, the date and to make predictions. Teachers and students can discuss what happened the week before and what activities are coming.
Stories should be on the student’s level, have easy to understand vocabulary and lots of pictures. The teacher asks questions targeting different levels (Bloom's Taxonomy) and provides discussion opportunities.
During circle time, the teacher practices the turn and talk technique. This is useful when the teacher wants students to participate and practice English without listening to students individually. The teacher can ask them to turn and talk to their partner on their right or left and share.
Before circle time is over, the teacher can go over the schedule and explain what is going to happen during the day. In this way, students know what they are doing, what the goal of the day is and to have clear expectations of what is to be accomplished and how it is to be accomplished.
When the day is done, the teacher and students can have a small circle time again and share their thoughts about the day. This will help the teacher to know how students felt that day and what they learned. With this information, teachers can make changes to future planning and activities by allowing the students to practice English.
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