…at least it should be a question. To clarify, I am referring to making it a daily habit or not.   

*For the purposes of this blog, “circle time” will represent any sort of organized large group time that occurs daily.

There are several things to consider when pondering this question. I will focus on three of them today. 

Is circle time interrupting the children’s ability to experience carefree timelessness? 

Carefree timelessness is a pair of words I heard used recently. To me, carefree timelessness is the super power that gives children their sense of wonder and joy. They are able to get lost in what they are doing without worry about what comes next. That is an important part of child development, especially in the current world of Early Childhood Mental Health needs being on the rise. 

Early childhood experts tell us that children learn through play and exploration of their environment. Look at the daily schedule for the children in your care:

  • Does your daily schedule allow for children to experience carefree timelessness?
  • Do they have time to think, plan, problem solve, ask questions or make discoveries in their play?
  • Or is the day scheduled to keep their little minds busy?
  • Is circle time one of the activities that interrupts the opportunity for carefree timelessness?    

Is circle time a developmentally appropriate practice for the children you work with?

For a toy or activity to be developmentally appropriate, it must meet the child at their current level of performance and/or encourage them to the next level of performance. When you think about the expectations of children to perform/behave appropriately throughout circle time and the skills required to do it (sitting still, focus on one person for a period of longer than 5 minutes, respond appropriately to questions, raise their hand and wait to speak, etc.), is it any wonder that many children under 5 or 6 struggle with this part of the day? Are any of these expectations or skills developmentally appropriate for most children under the age of 5? 

What is the purpose/goal of having circle time? 

If the only reason a teacher is conducting a daily circle time is because “that’s what early childhood teachers do”, he/she needs to reassess the purpose or goal of having circle time at all. If the previous statement rings true with you I would challenge you to take a break from circle time and reflect on what goals you have for children. Can those goals can be met through daily circle time for the majority of children in your care? Is circle time the ideal way for children for work toward these goals? 

We want to hear from you! Please share your thoughts or reflections on the questions posed in this blog or on the topic of circle time in general by emailing them to Iowa CCR&R


Tags: circle time , exploration , environment , problem solve , developmentally appropriate practice

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