Picture this, you have just walked your little one into their classroom and you have gotten them all situated for their day. You have said your third goodbye as you blow them one final kiss and you hear the teacher say, “ok everyone, it’s time to sit down for circle time”. She said the two little words that have become a common phrase around your house, “circle time”. As you are leaving you realize you don’t actually know what that means. Your little one talks about circle time almost every day when they come home exhausted but excited to tell you about their adventures that day. Well, we are here to share with you not only why your kiddo is having so much fun with it, but why, as teachers, we find circle time to be one of the most important activities we can do to help the growth and development of all of the kids that come through our doors.
Circle time is one of the few times of day where we all come and sit together for a fun activity. We sing songs, play small games, and count out the days of the month. We talk about the weather, we discuss numbers, letters, and shapes. One thing the children seem to love the most is talking about what everyone did in our time away from each other. We just love hearing the kids get so excited to share a part of their home life with us, it gives us a glimpse into their likes, dislikes and what motivates them. Finally, we always like to use this time to go over what we will be doing that day and what exciting things they will be learning about! This is just one of the ways we try to set ourselves up for success!
So that is what the kids see, a time to share, listen to others stories, a time to get some of their wiggles out, and just a fun space that they can look forward to every day. As teachers, we see circle time as all of that plus SO much more! We see it as a time for kids to further their language development, social and emotional development, thinking skills, and even motor skills! Yes, it really does all of that while the kiddos are just having fun and living their best lives! Let me break it down a little more for you so you can see what we are talking about.
Sitting in a circle and taking turns talking is a great way for kids to practice spoken word. Circle time is a safe space for the kids to feel free to express themselves in their own unique way. This not only helps them learn to speak in new settings, but it can also help to increase their vocabulary. Hearing others share their stories introduces kids to all kinds of new words and ways to express themselves. Kids are like little sponges, just observing and storing little tidbits away until they start using those new words and mannerisms in their everyday life.
Circle time gives everyone a chance to connect with each other. It encourages the development of their social and thinking skills by providing daily, structured social interactions. Basically they are practicing following social rules that people use in everyday life like taking turns and listening to their friends and teachers. They are learning what it feels like to develop a sense of community by caring about what others have to say as well as having their friends care about what they are saying! The kids learn to self-regulate, to be patient, and to use self-control.
Lots of parents are concerned about their kids’ motor skills being engaged throughout the day. Circle time is GREAT at doing this without the kids ever knowing they are working on it! They may be asked to clap their hands or stomp their feet which helps them develop coordination and control over their bodies. Circle time often includes songs or games that help everyone with their balance, not to mention curing that case of the wiggles while we are at it! Frequently objects are passed around, this little act helps to promote increased hand-eye coordination.
In a nutshell, you can’t go wrong with circle time! This one daily activity helps build confidence when they participate in activities like singing or speaking that may be challenging for some kids. Since circle time is helping build everyone’s social skills, the activities they do help prepare the kids to be ready for their next level of school. The most important thing everyone needs to remember is that circle time is fun! The kids LOVE it! The teachers LOVE it! It is a win-win for everyone! So, the next time your little one comes home with amazing tales of their experiences in circle time, you will have an extra big smile on your face knowing they are learning, growing, and having fun all at the same time!