Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Mixed Age Settings - Circle Time


 Share

Recommended Posts

This is something we struggle with too. We have been advised to split the children into groups for circle time but it is difficult when the children attend different sessions, and we also have issues with how they are split. Circle time is a bit of a nightmare for us at the moment so I will watch this thread with interest for any responses!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Clare,

 

Yes we have tried splitting as well, but due to different attendance days, enough staffing available for groups due to tidying the room etc, splitting doesn't work for us either and plus we would have to think of 2 activities then!

 

Lets hope someone comes along and solves all our problems!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is exactly the problem we are having too! We have tried to split the children into three groups (because that was what was advised) according to age, stage, interest, key groups, you name it, we've tried it and it just doesn't seem to be working. We are continually experimenting with planning formats for everything, including circle time and we seem to be drowning under the constant stream of paperwork. When we have split into various groups, there is then the issue of planning for each group. We do not always have enough resources to do three circle times based on the same idea, although obviously differentiated so we feel like we have hit a brick wall!

 

We have tried doing circle time as one big group but again there are issues of how long some children can sit in comparison to others, differentiation etc.

 

The other problem we have is that some of our older children do full days so in effect, would be part of two circle times which then have to be different again. We could allow these children to do a quiet activity instead of the circle but then, as you mention, there are issues of staffing.

 

One of my ideas has been to do some phonic work with the older children who tend to stay for the whole day as one of their circles, but then we have the issue of the other children missing out as well as asking the question whether we should be doing it at all.

 

I sympathise, honestly I do but at times I think it is me overthinking things. There must be some way to carry out circle time to meet all the children's needs surely!?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

 

We only have 18 children per session and this may include 2 / 3 2 year olds.

 

I did intend to take them off to another room for a separate singing / games time while the others are having circle time. I think that this would also make a smaller group for the main circle time, but the 2 year olds don't want to come and want to join in with the others. It has been fine though as they know that they will be 'removed' if not sitting 'nicely'.

 

Which is fine as I think it is too much to expect a 2 year to sit for 15 mins.

 

We also start with names / shapes / numbers on chairs. 'The helper' then goes round and collects cards, child say names , first letter sound, sign name, say number / shape / what they have had for breakfast etc. We play games , chinese whispers, swopping seats, tell news, sandy children, big brown bear, instruments, yoga, etc.

 

Hope this helps.

Edited by diesel10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had circle time with up to 26 two and a half to four year olds. What seemed to work best was having them in a 'clump'-some on chairs and some on a mat, keeping strictly to the same routine, moving through it rather fast and having maximum participation throughout rather than expecting them to listen to each other. We always started with an action rhyme, and kept the same rhyme all week, then I counted the children present and they all counted with me, we then guessed the day of the week and sang a song about it and set a very simple home- made weather chart to the right symbol. After that my secret weapon was a large bird puppet from the pound shop who lived in a shiny round box and would only come out to see them if they quietly whispered his name all together.The bird then emerged and sometimes taught them a song or shared a story book or asked them to tell him which of the items in his box were green or round or he produced photos and asked them to tell him which animals they showed etc etc. Later in the year we even taught the bird to count. We had circle time half way throgh the morning after and hour and three quarters of free choice play and I found they were mostly quite ready to sit for a quieter time by that stage. the circle time got progressively longer as the children got used to it and became one of their favourite parts of the session.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the best thing to is keep it quite shot about 15 minutes and make sure it is something interactive and fun! I found that when u involve all the children and make it really exciting they want to join in. I did the story 3 billy goats gruff with props. I had my actors, but the rest of the class were also involved as they helped with the sound effects to the story e.g trip trap! The chidlren loved this and they were all actively involved. Other things such as fast paced games like counting round the circle. Start from 10 and the person who lands on 0 jumps up and shouts blast off. We used number waffles where each child had a turn and they had to jump 1 more and 1 less than each number. A rhyming string where you start off with a word such as mat and the children continue it round the circle. hope this helps!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the main thing is to ask yourself what you want to achieve from circle time. What are your learning objectives during the time you use for it? What do the children get out of it?

 

In many ways, it's just a gentle introduction to the focus needed for carpet time in Reception, also a way of getting the children to share and work as a larger group.

 

A good rule of thumb for children's concentration spans is about their age plus two (i.e. 4 minutes for a 2 year old!), so it's asking a lot for them to sit and listen for 15 minutes. Are they really getting anything valuable out of it? We were picked up in our last ofsted for having a long circle time, especially in relation to the younger children, and we have since shortened it.

 

We do a mixed age circle because of staffing as others do, but we only have a small number of children in our setting which helps.

 

Have you looked at Jenny Mosley's website? The address is: http://www.circle-time.co.uk/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depending on the group you're working with, mealtimes can be a good time to do some circle-time activities. You do need to keep on top of those who forget to eat but it's a good way to keep those who have finished engaged and it makes sitting at the table an enjoyable experience rather than a chore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)