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circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

  • 1.  circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 17 days ago
    Hi, Could you give me thoughts about long circle times for 2 year olds. I ask since my child has circle time for 30 minutes then a group therapy session is added onto the circle time. Example circle time 900-930, then 930 -950 is music or speech time. Through all of this the child is either sitting on a stool or a chair and is not allow to stand up, and if the child continues to stand up, the child is strapped in a chair or is placed in a safe place for two minutes, or turned away from the class.  In her last class, during this time, no child was aloud to stand during music or speech and were always pulled down to sit onto a stool or sat in a stool turned upside down.  I have sent articles about the importance of movement for this age group but the response was sitting was important for my child's future and this is what they have in mind.

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 2.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 17 days ago
    I have so many thoughts.  Thirty minutes is entirely too long for a two year old to sit.  Young children do not learn in large group settings.  I personally do not believe in circle time at two unless it is for a dancing activity.  I have been in programs who are trying to introduce calendar and weather to this age, and it instead becomes a power struggle between the teachers and the children.  I would look for information regarding developmentally appropriate practice and what we should expect from twos.  If they are not willing to listen, then, as a parent, I would be looking for another program.  Good Luck.

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    Jennifer W. Hardy
    Association Program Specialist
    San Diego, CA
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  • 3.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 17 days ago
    Thank you, Jennifer! I brought it up to the education coordinator and the response was they are not going to change the program and my child will just have to learn. It is very frustrating, since this is supposed to the a good program.

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 4.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 14 days ago
    I understand your child has special needs, and it may be very difficult for you to find another program.  But, since you have already tried going up the entire line of command at the present program and they are so totally developmentally inappropriate, I will add my voice to all of those who recommend seeking another program for your child.
    BTW, I'm in this field for more than 40 years, and have taught child development on the university level.  I have also worked as a consultant in a program for children with special needs. The requirements of this program and the responses that it's the child who must change show lack of education about basic child development milestones and lack of caring for the needs of the children.
    A personal note - when my oldest was 5 (she has 2 married children now), she was in an inappropriate kindergarten in the local public school.  Although it was a major stretch, I pulled her out and enrolled her in a private program about 1/2 hour from our home (requiring me to take the 3 younger ones on that car ride twice a day).  We made big sacrifices - bought the kids' clothes at the Salvation Army, ate lots of spaghetti, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
    Best of luck to you and your child, whatever you do.

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    Ellen Cogan, MS Ed
    HILLTOP Early Childhood SERVICES
    www.earlychildinfo.com
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  • 5.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 14 days ago
    Thank you,  Ellen!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 6.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 12 days ago
    Well, it's not a good program.  It just isn't.

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    Cathy McAuliffe, PhD
    Early Childhood Coordinator
    NorthWest Arkansas Community College
    Bentonville, Arkansas
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  • 7.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 12 days ago
    Thank you, Cathleen!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 8.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    20 year teacher here, and so not developmentally appropriate to have 2 year olds sit for 30 minutes. I'm surprised they can even get through a circle time of that length with 2 year olds! Worth looking for another program. 😊

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    Sandra Glumb
    Fort Wayne IN
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  • 9.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    Thank you, Sandra!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 10.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    Thank you to all who have responded. Technically they are seated in one spot for 50 minutes, since they tie in circle time with Speech or Music time. So from 900-930 is circle time and from 930-950 is either speech or music. Thanks again for any insight.

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 11.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    Tilly,
    This is heartbreaking to read, and the fact that you are being told that your child will just have to learn shows that in no way could this be considered a good program.  Children at the age of 2 should never be expected to sit for extended periods of time, and strapping children down or making them go to a "safe place" because they want to stand is so inappropriate.
    I agree with Jennifer, find another program that actually lets children be children.

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    Michael Knuckey
    Executive Director
    Children's House Preschool
    Boulder CO
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  • 12.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    Thank you, Michael!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 13.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    I have been in Early Childhood for 20 years and the last year i have been a Site Coordinator/ director.
    I have never made children sit for any length of time. They are usually good for about 15/ 20 minutes then they want to wander and get up. i just continue with circle because they are still listening they just cannot sit still for very long. I just try not keep circle never more than 30 minutes. My Preschool teacher is the same in that manner. We have to do what is best for the children. They learn better when learning is fun and not being forced on them. We are here as educators, mentors, and role models to help parents build a strong foundation for these children to be life long learners.

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    Lisa Hunsicker
    Director
    Cradles of Clay County
    Clay City IN
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  • 14.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    Thank you, Lisa!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 15.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    Tilly:
    I had such a visceral angry reaction to your description of how these children are treated during circle time.  They are being punished twice; first by being expected to attend for so long, and then by being strapped or otherwise forced to sit if they stand up.  If the expectations are so inappropriate at this time of day I wonder what else they are being forced to do and punished if they don't do it.  I don't use the word 'punishment' lightly;  that is what this is.

    Your concern is absolutely appropriate and if the center won't change I hope you're successful in finding better care for your child.

    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    she/her
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  • 16.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    Thank you, Aren!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 17.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hello, Adding to my initial post, I failed to mention that the Teacher/Teacher Aides does have each kid come up and put their name on the board, then he sings a little song with them while the kids sits on the Teachers  lap and most recently, since I mentioned my kid needs more movement during this time, the Teachers have been having them jump up and down (the kid who has been picked) or doing some type of moving motion for a span of a minute for each kid. During this one minute time each kid has with the Teacher in front of their peers, the other kids are watching while being seated. He does this for every kid, which there are 9 kids. During this time, if another kid gets up or gets on the floor they are placed back on the seat/stool. If they continue to get up, this is when i have witnessed them being placed in the safe place, strapped in the chair, or turned away from the circle time. I also failed to mention that this is an inclusive class, with kids with and without different learning abilities. FYI My child would be considered by the world to have a disability, which I prefer different abilities due to having an extra chromosome, but honestly she is like every other 2 going on 3 year old. I did have a meeting with the Leader of the School and other staff member yesterday and mentioning my concerns and they came back with how circle time was beneficial and that the Teacher in question does let them move, like stomp their legs and clap their hands. I mentioned it was not age appropriate and how the time should be broken up, but they kept coming back with he does let them move. Lets them move in a chair is more than enough for them, I guess. Thanks again for everyone's advice and sharing your expertise with me. I truly appreciate your help.

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 18.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    Agree with everyone else, but am sorry to hear that you're having this experience. I'm glad you tried to work with the center first, rather than just leaving, but it sounds like they have different priorities. The importance of sitting? Really? Sitting is bad for us. My watch tells me to move when I sit too long, and I'm 56! It would be so easy to let all the kids jump or move during music. And this length of time is too long even for Pre-K. Start looking for another program.

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    Nina Burrows
    Preschool Director
    FUMC Preschool
    Fort Worth TX
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  • 19.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    The other thing I have seen happening in special education settings is the "sitting in chairs" rather than "sitting on the floor" at circle time.
    Sitting on the floor is so very good for young children's postural control and strength. Teachers don't like it becasue it takes some time for children to learn this - and they wiggle and roll around. When I was teaching special education groups, I always had the kids sit on the floor and sometimes they could lean against the wall for support if needed or sit on a teachers lap.  Sitting in chairs gives teachers more control. Sitting in chairs with seat belts gives a crazy amount of adult control that I strongly believe is dangerous. Again, I strongly recommend that you ask the director about her philosophy regarding restraining kids.Does she know the teacher is using the seat belt as punishment. This is such an outdated behavioral modification model of "training" kids and is not aligned with what we know about how children learn.

    You might phrase your question like this to "Can you please tell me what your policy and philosophy is on restraining children with seat belts and also please let me know what the state regulations says about child restraint, and what kind of professoinal development teachers receive about appropriate use of restraits."  This might put the director on alert and require her to do some research into the practices that are in question.

    If you decide to leave the program, I strongly recommend that you write up your experience and pass it along to the state department (or whatever agency is over seeing this program). I know this isn't easy, but please know that in doing so you will be advocating for many children to come.

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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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  • 20.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    https://cdn.rifton.com/-/media/files/rifton/product-brochures-and-additional-info/purpose-of-rifton-straps-and-supports.pdf?la=en

    I do remember some media attention a few years ago about teachers using restraint and seat belts inappropriately (for punishment). The reason some chairs have restraints is for safety and positioning. The above link is an example of appropriate uses for adaptive chairs.

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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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  • 21.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    Here is a report about the dangers of restraint and exclusion .

    https://www2.ed.gov/policy/seclusion/restraints-and-seclusion-resources.pdf

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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
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  • 22.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    1. Thank you, Carol for your insight and advice!


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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 23.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    Thank you, Nina!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 24.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 15 days ago
    We are all troubled by your description of children being forced to sit and strapped into chairs. As a special education teacher, I have worked in early intervention centers and special education preschools where often therapists have good intentions but do not have a child development education or knowledge. This often leads to extremely inappropriate practices. The therapist probably has goals for attention and sustained engagement, but doesn't understand that is is working against the child and doing the exact oposite of what they need to achieve this goal. Movement and play and joyful songs and stories would bring the children into natural engagement and promote their attention.  I wish we could all get rid of those little seats with seat belts! .  I don't believe they are EVER appropriate - and imagining using them like this breaks my heart. Please ask your directors  about the rules and protocal for restraining children. This is so dangerous! Feel free to email me privately if you need more support to advocate for developmentally appropriate practices, Carol

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    Carol Murray
    Bard Nursery School
    Red Hook NY
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hello,
    I teach one-year-olds at a childcare center and in absolutely none of our classrooms (infants through Pre-k) is circle time allowed to be more than 15 minutes. Young children are simply not able to have a fun, educational focused activity for much longer than that and if for some reason it needs to be then movement and physical activity need to be incorporated. Good early childhood teachers know that young children need an alternation of "quiet" or calm activities and free-choice wild activity. What you are describing is incredibly inappropriate and I worry about those children. There is no need to enforce the rules you would have on an elementary-schooler on a two-year-old and a teacher that doesn't understand developmental ability and appropriateness should not be teaching.

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    Sara Palmer
    Lead Teacher
    Franklin TN
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  • 26.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 16 days ago
    Thank you, Sara!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 27.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 13 days ago
    Just like all of the other well educated and experienced people here, I agree - totally inappropriate for a toddler on any developmental scale. I am a Pyramid Model coach for our center, but for the previous 5 years, I was the lead teacher in our older toddler room (2.5-3 years) and I wouldn't push anything over 10 minutes - assuming all of the children were engaged in what I was leading. At the first sign of more than 2 kids no longer being engaged, I would stop and transition to free choice of centers or movement. I cannot fathom what 30 and 50 minutes of sitting for a room of toddlers must look like. What a terrible power struggle that doesn't need to be had. Also a small side note, our center is in NY, where the regulations clearly state that any sort of restriction of movement (such as strapping children in to a chair as behavior management - yikes) is considered corporal punishment and is listed in the same sentence as purposely injuring a child.

    I think teachers get stuck in this ugly mindset where they hear the words "circle time" and it is immediately (and increasingly) tied with inappropriate developmental behavioral expectations and too high of a focus on academics. If I were the parent involved here, I would have a meeting with the administrator/program coordinator to voice my concerns and give them an opportunity to dialogue face to face and try to work with you. However, if they are not receptive to your suggestions and ultimately the needs of your child, then I think searching for a place that will is a fair next move. Good luck with everything, and awesome job being an advocate for not only your little one but the others in their class!

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    Dawn Brugger
    Internal Coach
    JLU Child Care
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  • 28.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 13 days ago
    Thank you,  Dawn!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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  • 29.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 13 days ago
    In addition to all the other comments here, I want to strongly reiterate that you should consider reporting this activity to whoever licenses this program. I know that here in Oregon, they would be out of compliance with the most basic regulations about keeping children safe and meeting their developmental needs. Advocating for your own child is your top priority, and I hope you find a more appropriate program if this one will not change, but it breaks my heart to imagine all those other young children also being punished for not being able to comply with unrealistic and inappropriate demands. Good luck.

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    Alison Myers
    Compliance Specialist
    Ore Assn of Relief Nurseries
    Corvallis OR
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  • 30.  RE: circle time, therapy time, keeping a child seated,

    Posted 13 days ago
    Thank you, Alison!

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    Tilly Fousie
    Carrollton TX
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