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advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

  • 1.  advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-07-2018 12:35 PM
    ​How long do you think circle time should be for a mixed age group of infants and toddlers?  Do you make all the children sit and participate for circle time?  I usually can get 15 maybe 20 minutes out of circle time.  I call it music and movement.  We do lots of movement songs first and then sit on the floor and do a few finger play songs.  I usually read/paraphrase a quick book to go with the theme/activity.  I do not make the children participate.  Some do but I feel the ones who are roaming around are still in sight and sound of circle time and may come back to participate.  I need advice or articles to have the other teachers in the classroom read so they understand it is not developmentally appropriate to make this children sit in circle for 30 minutes.  Please help.

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    Liane Rousseau
    Peterborough NH
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  • 2.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-07-2018 01:26 PM
    Hi Liane,

    I'm really interested in hearing from the NAEYC community about this but in the meantime I thought I'd share Timing is Everything: Understanding the Importance of Timing, Length, and Sequence of Activities an article from the most recent issue of Teaching Young Children. It's focused on preschoolers but I think the ideas related to timing, length and sequence of activities and children's attention will be useful for you.

    [Note from site moderator: In certain rare circumstances, you may need to log in again on the website and then follow this link again to gain access to the article.]

    Best,
    Susan


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    Susan Friedman

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  • 3.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-07-2018 05:13 PM
    Hi, Thank you for the link.  Unfortunately I do not have access to the link as I am not a member at that level.  I would need to update my membership and I don't have the funds to do that at this time.  That is why I have reached out here for advice.

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    Liane Rousseau
    Peterborough NH
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  • 4.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-07-2018 05:21 PM
    My understanding is the link should work for all members. I hope it works for you now. If it doesn't can you please let me know?

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    Susan Friedman

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  • 5.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-07-2018 06:21 PM
    Thank You!  I was able to access the article this time!  I am still interested to see what other ideas/advice other teachers have tried!

    Liane

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    Liane Rousseau
    Peterborough NH
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  • 6.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-08-2018 02:14 PM
    Hi Liane,

    Just wanted to provide some information about any difficulty with viewing the members-only article.  All Young Children and Teaching Young Children articles marked "members-only" are available to all NAEYC members and so the Digital Team was concerned to learn of your trouble accessing this article.  We're sorry you had trouble Liane!

    We've tested and found that in nearly all cases, if you are logged into Hello or any of our sites (members.naeyc.org or naeyc.org) you should be able to follow the link above and access the article as a member.  However, there are a few cases where Hello might recognize you but the NAEYC.org website (where the article lives) might not.

    If there's ever a case where you click on a link in Hello that links back to NAEYC.org and the page displays a  "can't access" message, try logging into the NAEYC.org website again, then come back to Hello and click on the the article link. You should then be able to view the content on the page.

    If you continue to have trouble signing in to any of NAEYC's sites, accessing member content on NAEYC.org, or have questions, please reach out to us through the NAEYC support form  or by emailing hello@naeyc.org.



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    Michael Coventry
    Director, Digital Strategy & Interest Forum Program
    National Association for the Education of Young Children
    Washington DC
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  • 7.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-08-2018 01:12 AM
    Hello. I hope you will keep in mind that circle time - or any whole group activity - is often ineffective for children who are growing up with more than one language. I know circle time is traditional - my mom used circle time in her preschool classroom in the 1960s. But, with increasing language diversity, it is time to take a second look at this tradition. There really isn't anything you do as one adult with the whole group that couldn't be done with each adult taking a smaller group. This makes it possible for each child to get the feedback they need and support for understanding the activity or story. I agree with you that wanderers should be allowed to wander, but sometimes, they are wandering because they don't get enough attention and maybe they don't understand what's being said. If you are absolutely sure you want to have circle time with infants and toddlers, I think most guidelines advise a maximum of  5 - 15 minutes.


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    Karen Nemeth
    Language Castle LLC
    Newtown PA
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  • 8.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-08-2018 06:55 AM
    Why are you having circle time in an infant/toddler classroom? How is it developmentally appropriate? If you want to do music and movement have it be a choice. Children should be able to come and go as they are interested. If it's enticing enough they will stay. The same with stories and art. We have to stop making our early education and care classrooms look like an elementary school!

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    Deborah Abelman, M.Ed., Ph.D
    Director of Early Learning and Coaching
    The Dimock Center
    Roxbury, Massachusetts
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  • 9.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-08-2018 08:39 AM
    ​Thank you Deborah!  Circle time is NOT developmentally appropriate for children under 3 years old-has anyone read NAEYC's Developmentally Appropriate Practice edited by Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp?  If it's an engaging choice children will choose to join, they should never be forced to sit.  The purpose of circle time for preschoolers should be to create a classroom community, fostering and strengthening the relationships between the children and the teachers.

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    Ellen Olson
    Child Care Council of CCE
    Oriskany NY
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  • 10.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-08-2018 09:49 AM
    I usually recommend that circle time is 5 minutes for every year the children are old.  So, 5 minutes for 1-year-olds, 10 minutes for 2-year-olds, etc.  I do not think that infants under 1-year-old should be having circle time.  My program serves preschool aged children 2-5 years old and circle time is a choice activity for our students - we never force them to come though we love it when they do and most choose to - it is always an option.

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    Sherrie Rose Mayle
    Director/Teacher
    Campbell Parents' Participation Preschool
    Campbell, CA
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  • 11.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-08-2018 12:51 PM
    These posts about "must walk in line, must sit in circle time" just show what an important tool this on-line forum is.  It helps to gently remind people that Preschool is NOT Elementary school. Early Ed has it's own pedogogy because young children are not just smaller versions of "school children"; they are different beings and must be treated as such. That is also why it is so important for early educators to know and understand child development (administration as much as classroom staff). The developmental appropriateness of early ed is the key. When it is built into your program, your life and theirs will run more smoothly.  Even if you are located in a "school" building, you need to negotiate for your own standards (not lower, just different) of noise, moving from place to place, etc.
    The Developmentally Appropriate Practice book has been around for a long time and come out with updates; it should be required reading for anyone working in early education at any level (again, administration may need it as much as classroom staff). Do not constrict young children simply because you anticipate that they will be constricted in the future! They will be at a different developmental level then and process it differently.  The more choices a child has- the better choice maker s/he will become (within reason). Thank you all for this important forum.


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    Vicki Knauerhase
    retired University Lab School
    Administrator/Head Teacher
    Weston OH
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  • 12.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-09-2018 07:43 AM
    Thank you for all the well thought out arguments for Infant Toddler Circle Time. I appreciate Vicki Knauerhas's comments. One group she did not mention is parents. Besides all staff working with children abd administration, parents need to be educated on the appropriate practices for children and take that a step further government officials who push standards not appropriate for children that parents grasp onto because they want what is best for their child.
    Our field is not a one dimensional field. We teach children, but we are also always educating those around us.
    We set the ground work to make children's education better by teaching each other, parents, and government officials. Let me remind you while doing that you must be respectful in your delivery, educated in your argument and willing to accept  many of the adults are learning alongside the child.

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    Helen Meissner
    Lead Teacher
    Love To Grow On
    Saint Paul MN
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  • 13.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-08-2018 03:10 PM
    Hi Liane,
    I have casual circle times with infants and toddlers. By that, i mean that I go sit and tell children I am having circle and mobile children choose whether to join it or not. I do have staff bring unmobile infants nearby if they are awake.
    The circle is short and sweet. I gauge interest by how many children are still paying attention to the song or activity and they are free to leave if it isnt their cup of tea at any given time.


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    Mari
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  • 14.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-08-2018 04:48 PM
    I am hearing different things in your post. 1) I am hearing Music and Movement time, to me, I consider that a large group time. I also hear that this is offered but is not required. 2) I am hearing you say that you read/paraphrase a book with the children and do some fingerplays, again, a free choice and not forced. 3)The last thing I am hearing you say is that other adults don't understand your free choice concept.  A resource for some teachers is Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale Revised (ITERS-R) and the All About Book that supports it. These books talk about not forcing children and the encouragement of access to materials much of the day. I agree with other's that have posted the DAP book, in addition, there is a DAP Focus on Infant and Toddlers that is more in-depth. I do encourage you, sometimes the best way to make people understand is just to do it and let the observation of the process be the teacher.

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    Rhonda Perez
    Infant Toddler Specialist
    SAL Child Care Connection
    Peoria, IL
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  • 15.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-09-2018 08:59 AM
    One of my mentors was well experienced with infants toddlers and twos. She showed pictures of herself in her 70's laying on the rug, being used as a soft circle time  climber. She also used a technique of carrying a basket with an interesting item or items and a book. She called it stop and drop circle time. The children knew the basket and most cane running to see what she had to examine and explore. No one was forced and all were welcome to hang around her and listen to story and sing a few simple songs. She was a wonderful
    memtor who taught her colleagues by doing...

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    Lynn Manfredi Petitt
    Lynn''''''''s NET :)
    Decatur GA
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  • 16.  RE: advice for circle time with infants/toddlers

    Posted 02-12-2018 02:12 PM
    Hello fellow educators! I teach sixteen young toddlers (ages 1 year to 2 years old) and circle time / group time can be extremely engaging for young children as long as you are engaging as well. I have seen first hand that children will respond positively when they are interested and engaged in any activity. Circle time for the children I teach is one of their favorite parts of the day because I try to make it memorable and fun while they learn something new.  I have taught dual language learners for over ten years and I have realized how much children get out of circle time when I incorporate their home language into circle time. When I started doing this it was just a few words here and there and now our circle time consist of singing Head and Shoulders Knees and Toes in English, Spanish and Chinese as well as counting from one to ten in English, Spanish and Chinese. I also try to incorporate different key words and phrases from colors, animals and items from different languages into our circle time. It is so fulfilling when children point to their mouth and say, "Boca." The thing that makes circle time incredible is find out what your strengths are an go from there. If singing songs is your thing then stick to that for a while and then step out of your comfort zone a little and see what else you can do to make circle time the best! Good luck and keep on being the best that you can be!

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    Anjanette Russell
    Child Development Lab at the McPhaul Center at UGA
    Athens GA
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