Circle Time length

After doing a few observations in a teacher's classroom, focusing on circle time, I was able to pull her out and talk to her about how to improve her circle. The first thing I told her was that it was too long. She has a classroom full of 3 year old children...her circle time was 30 minutes!!!

The first thing I told her was that she needed to shorten circle time. She asked, "Well, how long should it be?" This is where I found out that this is her first class as a teacher and most of her experience is with kindergarten children and the one preschool teacher she had (who wasn't good at all) is who she was basing her circle off of. I told her that I was afraid that when the new 3 year olds came in next month (these children are moving to the 4's) that she would be in for a big surprise because they wouldn't do well. Actually, I am amazed at this class because it seems to me that these children would actually sit quietly for an hour if asked to do so.

Here's the general rule for the length of circle time:

5 minutes per age of child

That means 15 minutes for 3 year olds, 20 minutes for 4 year olds, 10 minutes for 2 year olds, you get the idea.

This isn't to say that after 5 minutes into circle the children are just not having it today that you continue the torture (of yourself more than the children) and just let them go. It also isn't to say that come to the 15 minute end, the children are still sitting eagerly wanting more, that you can't extend it a bit. But in general, 5 minutes per year of age.

What is your favorite circle time activity?


Penny Ryder said...

I was very interested in your entry about circle time length. I teach Year 1 students and sometimes find that the circle time really stretches over a long period if you include all six elements: check in, mixer, activity, debrief, energiser, check out. Is this what your circle time is like? I've written about my circle time experiences at www.teachingchallenges.blogspot.com

Jenni said...

That's a great question, I will answer it in another post for everyone today! I'm assuming that year 1 students are 6 years old? Either way, I'm a believer that everyone should work developmentally as a teacher no matter what the age.