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The importance of circle-time throughout the nursery

Posted in: Blog | November 7, 2020

It could be argued that King Arthur invented the very first circle-time! He chose a round table to engender feelings of equality amongst his Knights, during meetings and planning sessions. Circle-time for us, serves much the same purpose- to show the children that everyone is a valued and important member of the group.

Circle-time offers opportunities for everyone to share information about the forthcoming day, and to help strengthen group bonds. Even babies as young as six months can join in. Give them something to shake, rattle or bang, while you run around doing action songs. I’ve tried this with six to fifteen month olds and they were transfixed.(Or stunned, depending on your point of view!) The babies get very enthusiastic by the excitement of a shared experience.

Circle-time benefits all children; shy, confident, loud, quiet, EAL speakers. As not all of the possible activities are languages based, they can enjoy games that involve repeated refrains and movements, as a cohesive group. Time spent may differ. For example, toddlers can usually focus for between five and ten minutes, and preschoolers, ten to fifteen minutes. Ending each session with a story can calm the children, and signal the beginning of their next activity.

A great starter for sessions is the ‘Hello’ song. It’s a great way to begin the day, and you can see how successful it is when the children insist you join in!

If the children are becoming restless, or wandering about aimlessly, especially when playing in the outdoor area, bring them together and play a circle game such a ‘Farmer’s in his den.’ It refocuses the children, includes them all in a shared activity, and helps them learn to take turns, and make choices. Sitting in a circle and rolling a ball to one another can be used with all ages.

Circle-time is a fantastic teaching tool. It helps with language development, cognitive development, social, emotional and physical development. As for the children, they see it as a time to come together as a group, and have lots of fun!

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