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What Do You During Your Circle Time?

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I have been watching and leading circle time now at my place for 4 weeks and I feel as an adult, that it is boring and lacks any kind of direction.


We tend to do the same activities each time, role play stories, puppets, reading stories. We don't tend to have any kind of discussion at these times. It is very much adult led with little imput from the children.


Basically, we do the register (which I thought we weren't supposed to do in pre-school??) and then we select 2 children, one to count the girls and one to count the boys, the children are then asked to determine whether there are more boys/girls. We then go through the calendar, and absically tell the children all the information, rather than allowing them time to think about the questions we are asking.


So I was wondering what others do during their circle times? I would like to try something lively and energetic with the children, something that really gets them thinking, but I think everyone is so used to doing it in this particular way, that introducing new and exciting things is difficult.


I could really do with a song/rhyme that encourages the children to get rid of all their little wiggles before they settle down for circle time too, so if you have any ideas, please send them my way!!



Edited by Clare
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We do our circle time standing up!


1st we sing our 'welcome song' adapted version of a 'Barney' song


I love you, you love me

We're the preschool family

With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you

Won't you say you love me too


I love you, you love me

We're best friends like friends should be

With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you

Won't you be my best friend too


Adult then asks: Are we all best friends? to which the reply is a very loud "Yes"


We then sit and do 'active' getting to know you games / listening games / sounds games etc

ie: using small blocks - 2 each the children follow a simple rhythmn banging their blocks together or on the floor taking turns to say their name: My name is...............


Chinese whispers is popular, never end up with the 1st word though :o , but they always get the giggles, tickles the ear when whispered into I suppose.


Can you find something beginning with, they all run off, find something and then return it to the circle. or can you find something that is yellow ( or any other colour)


We sometimes do excersises at this time, enables children to play more purposeful during free play, some may have sat in front of the telly since getting up 2 hours earlier, then car ride to preschool ( only going by my grandsons morning routine :( :wacko: )


Sometimes I use this time to teach a 'new' song


We don't do register, we do look at what day it is today through a picture card, on Mondays the picture shows a man walking, on tuesday a man using a computor, on Wednesday a man reading a book etc. We only look at the current days picture, I don't go through the whole week with children, I really don't think they understand the concept of the 'days of the week', yes they can repeat the sequence, but it doesn't really mean anything to them. just my opinion though.


Sometimes I role play 'teacher' and do register just before a story, to settle children to listen but again some find the concept difficult, you say a name, they look at you blank, you say "Are you here" " Say Yes Peggy" they still look at you blank, of course I'm here, you are looking at me aren't you xD:(:(


So in answer to your question our circle time is quite active just so that fidgerty energy can be dispersed before purposeful play. Settling 'group' time is done just before our story ( although they are normally ready for a rest because story time is after our daily walk. :D



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There is a lovely book called "Here We Round" by Jenny Mosely, which has a variety of activities addressing all areas of the FS curriculum for circle time with 3 to 5 year olds. It sets a structure for Circle time. Jenny Mosely is the circle time guru.



There is another book for foundation stage circle time, but I have not used it.



What you describe Clare sounds like a glorified school registration!

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Thanks for the replies! Susan, the registration thing is very much like a school set up. It's too formal in my opinion. I like the idea of saying hello to the children individually, but I think this way is too formal. The children already self-register, so to be honest, I don't get the point of sitting them down and calling out their names. Maybe I'm missing something there!


Thanks Helen, for the suggestion. I will have a look at the article!


Peggy, I like all of your suggestions. Only trouble is, the children don't get the concept of Chinese Whispers and I usually end up getting frustrated because they lose the thread and start fidgeting and fiddling. The idea of them looking around for objects beginning with... sounds like a good idea, but I already know without suggesting it, that it would not go down too well. The general feeling about circle time here is that the children sit down quietly and listen to and follow the direction of the adult, which I don't totally agree with.


I am going to have a little think about how I can involve the children a bit more. I thought about story sacks, as a bit of a change, and Running Bunny has pointed me in the right direction with that, encouraging the children to plan what they would like or what they think we need in them, so have made a note of that and reckon that this will go down ok. :o


Just had a look at your Amazon link, Susan and have ordered the book! Thanks!

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Guest MaryEMac

If I want my children to be still we do this rhyme


I wriggle my fingers,

I wriggle my toes,

I wriggle my shoulders,

I wriggle my nose.

There are no more wriggles left in me

so I sit as still as still can be.


this tends to work 60% of the time but there is always one who can find a wriggle not mentioned in the rhyme!! :o



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Jenny Mosely has published a book on circle time for SEAL has anyone used it?


In our circle time we do quite a lot of speaking and listening activities from the Ros Bayley books (the children love Lola) we also do things like pass a beat round, pass instruments and see if the children can copy the sound made by the previous person Chinese whispers, Kims game 'I went to the shop and I bought something beginning with........ guessing whats in the parcel.

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We do a wide variety of things, always sat in a circle and always with plenty of opportunity for everyone to join in. I'm (hopefully) attaching one of our circle time planning sheets. By way of explanation the bears and elephants groups come full time and are all 4. The lions and penguins come for am and pm respectively and are 3 year olds.

Sometimes group time is replaced by Early Years Assembly (story and singing with Reception) or dance.

Our song (accompanied by a series of pictures) is:

Eyes looking,

bodies still,

Ears listening,

Minds awake.

This is how we show we're ready,

Lets have fun.


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I went on a jenny mosely circle time course, it was fantastic, she is absolutely brilliant we were all mesmerised by her, if you get the chance you must go to one of her courses.

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How about the 'pass the mask' game? its like chinese whispers but the 1st child makes a 'face' grumpy.silly, happy etc, and then the next child has to copy that 'face' and pass to the next child and so on.


The 'encouragement' circle is great too. Get a ball of whitle wool, adult starts it off and says 'i'm going to throw my ball of wool to ........., (hold on to the end of string), that child picks another child etc etc ....by the end of the game, you have what looks like a spiders web! We usually get a large plastic spider and put it in the middle. It is really fun and it keeps the children's interest.

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We use a couple of ways to settle the children the first is the children choose a song and apart from the normal nursery rhymes the grandma's spectacles is always polpular. it is a rhyme and goes


Grandma wears her spectacles (ation: fingers round eyes like glasses)

Grandma wears a hat (hold hands in triangle over head like a hat)

Grandma folds her arms ( fold arms: Obviously!)

and puts them in her lap (Put hands in lap)


We also vary circle time, so once a week (the day changes to accomodate all children) we have 'show and tell' related to theme, another day we may do a bit of counting and finding things of a certain no. in the nursery, another day the weather etc. etc. The story is always kept for the end of the morning or afternoon just before they go home. It seems to work well and the children sit really well for approx. 10 mins even the little ones which always amazes me.



Edited by Guest
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We also do lots of Lola activioties and the children adore her. At the beginning of the year we do quite a few name affirming games becayse we often find that the children dont know each other and get into the habit of ponting or saying 'him'. Simple things like rolling a ball saying the prsons name they are rollling to, passing a smile to..' chair next to me (empty chair); I am, this is..


We sit on chairs for ours whee possible, the children seeem to find it easier to keep their own space and re very attentive without fiddling with shoes, neighbours, clothes etc..

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A song for getting rid of fidgeting and focusing attention!

I can't take the credit for it - heard it sung by an excellent nursery officer I worked with when I was teaching in a Children's Centre.


Don't know the tune (soz)

I'm going to shake, shake, shake, the sillies out

Shake, shake, shake the sillies out,

shake , shake, shake the sillies out

And wibble the wobbles away


(action: shake hands in the air for last line, wiggle body)!


(change shake to push (push arms out in front), stamp(stamp feet on floor) - whatever you want)

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