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YOU Can Make Circle Time Developmentally Appropriate

by Karen Stephens
May/June 1996
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/you-can-make-circle-time-developmentally-appropriate/5010940/

Circle time. It has a time slot in every classroom schedule. It's one of the unspoken rules of early childhood curriculum planning: "Thou shalt have circle time, whether the children enjoy it or not!"

Gathering a gaggle of children and holding their attention is a challenging - even intimidating - endeavor. (Ask any first year teacher!) Until teachers become skilled in planning and conducting developmentally appropriate large group activities, circle time can be torturous for kids and teachers alike. Children are "timed out" every few minutes, teachers grit and grind their teeth between huffs and puffs of frustration, stories are repeatedly interrupted so the child who gradually edged off her carpet and onto her neighbor's can be soundly chastised, "Angela, where does your body belong?" . . . I wonder if our Angelas ever silently say to themselves, "Anywhere but here."

But when it works, circle time can be a teacher's crowning glory; I mean a real joy! I've seen it work for others; and I've experienced it myself. The key to a successful circle time is a motivated, creative teacher who understands developmentally appropriate guidance and curriculum. Now that sounds simple, doesn't it? ...

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