The transition to circle time is not easy. Our team of seasoned preschool teachers have shared their insider pro tips to help you glide through circle time with more ease to help you enjoy it and make the most of each teachable moment circle time brings.
5 Legit Circle Time Tips
There are a few things you can know and actually apply for a more productive circle time. Here they are!
Tip 1: Know your “why” for circle time.
Understanding that circle time is all about community and connection can really help how you run circle time in your own room. Of course, it’s meant to be fun and the kids are learning, but all of that is secondary to them learning how to take turns, be part of a team, and practice empathy and kindness.
Circle time (or morning meeting, as some call it) is a wonderful way to review the rules with your students. In reviewing these rules each morning, it offers another opportunity to reinforce the expectations of how they should behave while they are together in their community of class.
Getting together at circle time isn’t just a good time to make announcements, but also to review and reinforce concepts that are being taught in class.
Tip 2: In the beginning, keep it short!
This goes without saying but, keep it short at the start of school and after a break. Like… really short.
There’s no shame in starting the year with 5-minute circle times, and then working your way up as the school year progresses. A major plus side to this is that kids thrive off of familiarity and routine, so the more you bring to their day, the happier they’ll be.
Tip 3: Pivot if you must.
Know that it’s okay if things don’t go the way you planned them out to. And with a classroom full of kids with different personalities, they rarely ever do, right?
Circle time works best when it’s fluid and not constrained by any certain plan.
And, as teachers, when things aren’t working, we must readjust quickly to save the day.
That starts with having a backup plan! When you do your circle time plans, be sure you include a backup. You’ll eventually need to use it, and if you already have it prepared, it’ll be ready and waiting for you.
If you try your backup and the kids are still not feeling it, then it’s time to call it and move forward into the rest of the day.
Tip 4: Plan ahead for success.
You absolutely need to plan for circle time while writing your lesson plans.
There are so many ways to do this while incorporating much of the material you’ve used during the day. You can overview any concepts you’re learning while you have all of their little eyes turned your way.
And… of course, have a basket armed with backup plans (yes, an actual basket). This basket can contain finger puppets, hand puppets, interesting books, CDs for movement, whatever you think will work for your kids.
Planning for everything that could potentially come your way during circle time makes it a success for everyone.
Tip 5: Troubleshoot pesky problems.
Talking about solutions to problems is one thing, but handling them in real time is an entirely different story.
If you’re having a hard time with one of your kids, or multiple, take a look at what you’re doing.
Are you making things fun and interesting?
Are you offering them the ability to interact?
Another easy way to help them stay on track and stop problems before they start is to pay attention to what activity they’re doing directly before circle time! If it’s the first thing in the morning, give them a chance to wiggle out some of their energy before they’re expected to settle down and listen. And then whatever you choose for your transition task, keep doing it! (Assuming it works, of course.)
A transition activity is predictable and can help them know what comes next. Little people thrive off of predictably, so the more predictability you can give them, the better for you both.
Need More Help with Circle Time as a Preschool Teacher?
We know how stressful it can be when things don’t go the way you planned in your classroom. But at the end of the day, don’t forget to have fun and remember the reason you’re doing circle time is to help build community with the children! At Impact Early Education, we know your work is never done. That’s why we provide valuable professional development courses for preschool teachers, directors, and owners in a way that works for you. To learn more, explore our courses or contact us today!