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Using Circle Time as a Hub of Curriculum

by Elizabeth Jones and John Nimmo
May/June 1996
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/using-circle-time-as-a-hub-of-curriculum/5010944/

Young children shouldn't be brought together in a group and expected to behave like an audience - to sit still and pay attention - unless there's action worth paying attention to. They don't need lectures from a teacher to get information; their real learning takes place in the active mode. Even if they're sitting still, they may not be listening (adults don't always listen at lectures either). The most important teaching happens elsewhere, but it can be enriched by what happens at circle time.

Especially for the youngest children, circle time has its greatest value as ritual, as Karen Stephens and Linda Torgerson describe in their articles here. All cultures are built around rituals, and teachers are responsible for building a classroom culture. The circle gives adults an opportunity to share stories and songs they love, lead games with predictable patterns, invent participatory drama; some of these will find their way into children's spontaneous play. Children are also creators of patterns and dramas and rituals - and thus of the group's culture.

Most young children aren't very competent participants in discussion, but they have many experiences to contribute. Teachers act as scribes and storytellers (Jones and ...

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