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Circle Time


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Hi All

 

This may be a topic that will be of interest to many, as I think other people may have concerns.

 

I work in a nursery class in a primary school. Every day we have small group time when our children sit with their key worker. This time has a focus. The teachers write the plans for the week. We may have discussions with our children that are PSRN based, CLL based ( objects in a mystery box) etc. Now the dilema is this.

 

Our children come in, self register and then play in their choosen area of the nursery. Many of them become engaged and engrossed but at 9.30 they are told to stop and go to their groups.

 

It feels wrong to be doing this, and yet I do see the value in children having this input in small groups. The only other time we stop them playing is when we tidy up. At the end of the session the children are split in to two large groups for a story. When do others have this type of small group time?

 

Our sessions are 3 hours long 9.00-12.00 /12.30-3.30 We have 52 children morning and afternoon.

 

How do other people organise their timetables so that the children's self initiated learning is maximised???

 

PLEASE TELL???

 

Many thanks

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Hi

We felt pressured to do this too...advisors (and committee) kept coming in and asking "when do you do your group time / letters and sounds?" .."X preschool does so and so..why dont you try that?.." ..etc so although we we did a group time at the end of the morning (mainly songs and stories rather than anything too focused as our focused activites happen more spontaneously during the session)... we decided to try key group time at 9.30...after the initial novelty factor when we thought it might work and it seemed we were doing something more 'focused' like everyone else wanted it lasted barely two weeks - when I saw the faces of some children when they were called away from what they were doing I felt so bad for them and I just couldnt do it anymore! It felt horrible! Still makes me cringe even now - I hated to do it.

 

We went back to having group time at the end of the session after tidy up time (11.30) ..but changed it from being a whole group time to splitting into key groups...works much better and feels alot less intrusive as children have already stopped their play period and have had a good 2 hours +.

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We tried ours at different times of the day, initially at group snack time, then at the end of the morning, then at the beginning. All work differently for different chidlren, so we were flexible accordingly.

 

I never really liked doing it first thing, I was a big fan of letting the children play first thing as it brought parents it to play too and gave us opportunity to chat with them.

I preferred the middle of the session, when we stopped for snack, we tried but never liked free flow snack, so stuck with a group snack followed by that group time. This was usually around 10.15/10.30. We were a little constrained because we shared the outdoor area and couldn't free flow to it easily, so we did have an outdoor set time.

 

Could you ask if you can discuss this at a team or staff meeting?

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Our mornings were a bit like this....did vary of course but as a general rule;

 

Free flow first thing.....then tidy up and then big book session and then snack and then music / singing session and then split into groups for focused activities one of which was circle time and then rotate the groups (we had 3 rooms so different activity in each room)

 

But from 8.30 till 11am it was child initiated stuff all the way....lots of things set up and offered activities for the children to choose from.

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Our mornings were a bit like this....did vary of course but as a general rule;

 

Free flow first thing.....then tidy up and then big book session and then snack and then music / singing session and then split into groups for focused activities one of which was circle time and then rotate the groups (we had 3 rooms so different activity in each room)

 

But from 8.30 till 11am it was child initiated stuff all the way....lots of things set up and offered activities for the children to choose from.

 

 

Thank you all for your replies. Very interesting. I know many of us face the challenges of keeping our youngest children sitting on the carpet for inappropriate lenghths of time!!!!!

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we have a welcome time as soon as they have come in and self registered then we free flow with snack (also free flow) until 11.30 mass tidy then we divide for 3 story groups ant l&S are done during that time

 

key people work individually with their children during the morning

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Yep! We do exactly as Suer and it is working really well for us.

 

Littlies (2year olds - we are 2-4 yr olds) come and join us for circle time first thing too and enjoy it - we play a hello game, share Wow!s and special things, talk about what's on that day, and sometimes sing an action song. We keep it to 10 minutes tops.

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