What is Circle Time and How Does it Encourage Social Development?
Circle Time is a popular activity in preschool, Montessori and Primary School settings to develop positive relationships, communication and social development in children.
It is often used as an opportunity to communicate with children about what is happening in their lives, allow them to share their thoughts, feelings and opinions. The class takes part in Circle Time together at the same time, usually led by their teacher, who takes part in the circle with the children.
Benefits of Circle Time
The circle encourages unity, respect, turn-taking and working together towards a shared vision.
It also helps children work on five key skills, without which Circle Time doesn’t work: thinking, listening, looking, speaking and concentrating.
Circle Time can be held weekly, and last between 20 and 50 minutes, depending on the children’s ages and ability to concentrate.
It generally has a specific structure to ensure all children can be involved.
Some common general rules may include not interrupting each other, putting hands up to speak, valuing all contributions and not putting anyone down.
Often, an object like a ball, a rubber egg or a teddy will be passed around the circle. When a child is holding the object, it’s their turn to speak.
Teachers will choose from a range of activities, such as co-operative games, rounds, musical games, drama activities, talking and listening exercises, puppets and masks. Sometimes, a particular issue that’s affecting the class, school or a pupil is tackled; on other occasions, there may be more general discussions around thoughts and feelings.
Circle Time can help to improve listening and communication skills, increased self-esteem, a sense of community and friendship, understanding how their behaviour affects others, improved emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills and an improved relationship with the teacher.
Read more about Portobello Montessori School’s online Circle Time here.
Portobello Institute offers a range of Early Childhood Studies programmes, ECCE and Montessori Teaching courses. Check them out here.