Circle time provides a wealth of learning opportunities for children. The focus on interaction means circle should be a language rich experience.
To get the most language learning out of your circle:
- Know your children – their age, interests, and abilities.
- Adapt content and length to the children in the group. Circle time should last only as long as children are engaged.
- Begin each circle in the same way each day. Repetition is essential to language learning.
- Sing a variety of songs with gestures. Children who do not know the words can still participate!
- Recite rhymes and poems to encourage phonological awareness.
- Read stories over and over. Let children finish the sentences in the book.
- Talk about the story, the words and the pictures. Make predictitions about what will come next.
- Provide opportunities for children to practice language skills by encouraging participation during circle.
- Be enthusiastic. Use facial expressions and your voice to engage the children.
- Use props and visuals to help children understand meaning.
- Have fun!
To help the learning continue after circle time is over:
- Retell the stories that you have read using dramatic play or in the writing centre.
- Use the books, games and other materials throughout the day.
- Incorporate songs and stories into newsletters for families.
- Invite family members to share stories, traditions, talents, and hobbies.
- Use story extension activities. For new ideas, consult books like: Story Stretchers or Story Stretchers for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos by Shirley C. Raines.