3 weeks ago

Communicating effectively through Circle time for young children

What is Circle Time?

Circle Time is used to bring students together as a community. It is a time to share thoughts, listen to one another, read, sing, or do activities. Circle time ensures that the individual needs of students are not neglected. Preschool students are yet to develop the social, emotional, and communication skills that will help them negotiate relationships as adults. In Circle Time they have the opportunity to build relationships and learn socially acceptable patterns of behavior as they engage with and listen to each other. The activities done during Circle Time help to build self-esteem and solve problems that affect the class, such as too much talking during lessons, or someone being bullied. The circle encourages unity, respect, turn-taking, and working together towards a shared vision. Ideally, Circle Time should take place every day, and last between 20-40 minutes, depending on the children’s ages and ability to concentrate.

What happens during Circle Time?

During Circle Time, students sit on the floor or on chairs. Sitting in a circle encourages a sense of equality and the right to full participation.  The procedures followed, ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate. Students are involved in deciding the ground rules. The teacher, who is a part of the circle, keeps a low profile, so students have a chance to speak up. The teacher has a special responsibility to ensure that Circle Time rules are kept and that students’ feelings are protected. An object like a soft toy, puppet, or a ball is passed around the circle. When a student is holding

the object, it is that student’s turn to speak. The teacher acts as a facilitator and can read a book; lead a sing-along, chant or rhyme; play a musical instrument;  participate in movement games or engage in a discussion. Circle time could start with an analysis of the weather and drawing a correlation between the weather and the type of clothing that the students are wearing. Discipline should be maintained and the teacher should be ready to close a session if students are persistently breaking the rules.

What are the benefits of Circle Time?

Circle Time is used in schools across the world. It provides a time for listening, developing the attention span of students, promoting oral communication, and learning new concepts and skills. It enables students to see, listen and empathise as they face each other and talk about the issues that are important to them. Used regularly, it can offer a problem-solving framework. Circle Time has been proved to promote better relationships and positive behavior. A number of benefits are listed below:

  • Establishes a predictable routine for preschoolers
  • Encourages positive relationships with peers and adults
  • Promotes sharing in an emotionally safe place
  • Enhances self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Develops listening and speaking skills
  • Reinforces positive behavior
  • Helps identify and communicate own emotions in a socially acceptable way
  • Encourages self-discipline and problem-solving skills

As the students become familiar with the format, they develop a sense of emotional safety, and begin to provide mutual support to each other. Moral values are exemplified and reinforced. The games and exercises are designed to build a sense of ‘class community’. Students feel safe and happy, which encourages risk-taking and allows students to learn and contribute in the most effective and positive way.