Circle time routine with little ones

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by anna9868, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 11, 2008

    I'm having a very hard time holding my 2.5 year olds attention at a circle time. I aim for 5 minutes, but hardly get it for even a few minutes.

    I sing a hello song, a calendar song, we play with the whether wheal and then try to sing a fun song, like "Itsy bitsy spider", Head and shoulders, 5 apples sitting in a tree, etc.

    You see, I used to have 4 children, and one of the boys was really the only one that I got feedback from. He was the one who liked to help me with songs, he would ask me why we are are not singing this song again, he liked it... Then his mom pulled him out of preschool.

    Now I'm left with 3 children who appear to be uninterested whenever I sing. They don't help me, and most of the time one of the children just goes and plays, then other children follow him. I'm left there to sing songs to myself :(

    Now, I understand a lot depends on my attitude. I'm not that good at singing children's songs and I do become discouraged easily.

    What I'm wondering now is should I try to look for more interesting songs until I find those that MAY get some response from children, or should I continue with my routine and hope that they will get used to it and start participating.

    I'd appreciate to hear your advises,
    Anna
     
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  3. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    Oct 12, 2008

    I don't teach 2.5s so I am sure it is a whole different world, but as much as you can, make everything into a routine. At the end of morning activities (or whatever comes before circle time), ring a bell to signal them to come over to the calendar area. After you ring the bell, sing or play a song to signal them to come over and sit down...even make something up like, "Come on friends and sit with me, come on friends and sit with me, come on friends and sit with me, sit with me this morning" (to the tune of Skip to my Lou)...and then once they've sat, change it to "Hello ___________ how are you? (3x), How are you this morning?" This helps make the environment PERSONALLY engaging for them, which may be what they're having difficulty with.

    Can you give each child a specific job to include him/her more in circle time...you could have a weather watcher to check the weather when you sing your weather song, a calendar helper to help you put the piece up, etc...one for each step that you do. That will help them to each look forward to their turn.

    Do you sing a song for the months of the year? days of the week? Do you have patterned calendar pieces? Just trying to think of things to make it really interactive for them.

    Does any of that make sense? I figure that you may already be doing lots of these things but I thought I'd throw them out there anyway.
     
  4. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 12, 2008

    You are right, I cannot engage them. I would start off by singing Hello everybody song I took from someone, when I get to the part 'Hello John', 'Hello Mary' I expect some kind of response from a child, but they just sit there as if I'm reading some boring story.

    I don't know, I director told us, the new teachers, not to get discouraged if some days we are sitting at a circle time or reading a book and only one child is listening, However, it's now 2nd month, and I do feel discouraged. It's rather hard to sing songs or do other activities if no one is interested. Just venting :dizzy:
     
  5. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oct 12, 2008

    When my group is very young I load the classroom with nursery rhyme books and song story books (Iza Traponi - sp) like the Itsy Bitsy Spider. I try to bait them into the listening to the rhyme - on their time not based on what the clock says and then throw in a couple minutes of circle time. Without the structured "Hello songs" or days of week. The calendar time I introduce at snack time-since I can be pretty sure we will sit then.

    2.5 are great-I have them inside my mixed age class of 2-6 preschool. However, without older people for them to follow it would be much harder. Once you find them, and get them used to sitting (a completely strange concept for 2.5's) then it is important to talk and sing and work on what THEY want to-or they will leave again. If you are working on fall, and they hook onto bats-I go there. I don't try to get them back to plain fall. That said it isn't a free for all either.
     
  6. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    Oct 12, 2008

    Do you pause after your hello song to allow each of them to answer? One of my co-workers did that and the kids would use that time to share something about themselves (usually, "look at my new boo-boo!")
     
  7. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 12, 2008

    Yes, I do pause and extend my hand hoping the child would extend his hand and shake or touch mine. They seem to be shy, or just preoccupied with their own activities.
     
  8. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    Oct 12, 2008

    hmmm tough crowd :( I also agree w/ Wa that it's tough when they don't have the older role models.
     
  9. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oct 12, 2008

    Go with them. When one sits and gets out the nursery rhyme book I go into the biggest "Barney" routine you have ever seen to try to get the other children to come from other parts of room. If they don't come fine. Then the next time the touch the book-do it again. And so on. Pretty soon they sit at the book center and pick up the book just to have you come. NOW you have circle time. See? When they space out you get the book out again. You might have them fluent in nursery rhymes in a weeks time. But the Pavlov Dog thing really, really, REALLY works well.

    Circle time isn't really all that DAP for this age (some say) so don't worry that they aren't doing it. If they are learning in center pat yourself on the back. If you can get them to Circle then you are moving ahead to the pre preschooler stage. And that is to be strived for. They just need more foundation experience. Pavlov is good for that.

    See you at the book store!!
     
  10. punchinello

    punchinello Comrade

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    Oct 12, 2008

    I hope this doesn't come across as sounding too harsh, but I don't think 2.5 year olds need to learn how to sit through a circle time. Or line up. A calendar? Your frustration is coming from the fact that the activities are not developmentally appropriate for this age group.
    Sorry, but I just cringe when I see those little ones walking into "school" with a backpack. Too much, too soon.
    I would just have fun playing with them. Nothing too organized or planned.
     
  11. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    Oct 12, 2008

    maybe not - but 5 minutes really isn't asking too much of them either...
     
  12. Maxadoodle

    Maxadoodle Comrade

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    Oct 12, 2008

    Perhaps instead of a hello song, start with a simple song with movements (ie) we march around the room, we stomp around the room, we swim around the room...(tune: the farmer in the dell). Wee Sing has lots of good ones with familiar tunes. Then I usually do a fun fingerplay (ie) two little blackbirds sitting on a hill). Then a fabulous book with large vivid illustrations/photos and simple, short sentences or a flannel board or magnetic story you've made. Or use their photos in a story. Then another fingerplay/song/nursery rhyme, and end with a fun game (ie) moving over the jumprope/snake/river) or activity (beanbags/parachute/scarves). The key is if you are excited and having fun, they will too. Good luck.
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oct 12, 2008

    Yep, that is what our "circle time" looks like to. Little in the way of sitting quietly w/hands folded in lap waiting for your turn. That is a little out of the 2's frame of reference. They will catch on-if you make it appropriate for them.
     
  14. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 12, 2008

    Yes, this is a great advice, I heard from one of our teachers. And I use snack time now for reading books (in my opinion it's one of the most important things I do during the 3 hours we are together). And they actually listen, most of the time!
     
  15. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 12, 2008

    I wish I was the master of my books but I'm not. I'm sharing a classroom with a class of 4 year olds, so our book shelf has a lot of books for their age. Besides, we have a rule that if you want to read some books for the children, you need to take them out of the office and return on the same day, or close to it.

    It's understandable, they only have a certain amount in the office, but it's tough. And I'm always behind on many things, like preparing for arts&crafts and specials, so I don't even bother with their books.
     
  16. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 12, 2008

    Believe it or not but I agree with many of your points. I was VERY surprised when they explained to me that I should do the calendar for the 2 year olds. To my question isn't it too early? the director explained that I should just sing days of the week song, so the children get used to hearing it

    But then, I don't agree about no structure at all, because it would be a plain babysitting then.
     
  17. Pre-KPrincess

    Pre-KPrincess Rookie

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    Oct 12, 2008

    I agree that calendar time is not developmentally appropriate for your age group. The concept of time is so abstract. I don't think you're doing any harm in singing a days of the week song, though, to expose them to the idea. It really depends on your objective... is your goal to have the children remain with a group or to actually know that today is Sunday, October 12, 2008? Play is active learning and I certainly do think it should be intentional and manipulated to target your objectives. Just make sure that it's "playful, planful, and purposeful!"
     
  18. sarzacsmom

    sarzacsmom Groupie

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    Oct 12, 2008

    You have two choices--- 1) keep swimming against the current with what isn't working for you or 2) change your strategy-- I learned this one the hard way this year. Soetimes you have to let go of the wya things are and try something different. first I'd skip the singing. I don't sing cutesy songs at my circle time. The kids don't join in and they don't pay attention so I don't do it. perhaps you could try reading a story that has to do with your theme. Once they get so they can sit through a story then you can add things a little at a time. I agree iwtht he person who said give them each a job to do at circle time. I sould start with attendance helper , weather and story helper if you only have three kids. Let the weather helper move the weather wheel, Write the kids names on different shapes or different colored circles and give them the chance to learn some visual discrimination by associating the name with the color ro shape. make some kind of poster with coordinating shapes or colred circles and let the attendance helper put the names up-- that wya they are doing matching also and it helps the children learn to recognize their names. Have several story books available that you can tie in with what you are doing (or not) and let the story helper choose the book to read. Once they understand the routine and that they get to do something special each time they sit at Circle time , they will be more interested because they will have some ownership of it. I agree that doing calendar is too much for this age group. You can always add a little more later and make a game out of going over shapes and colors ---
     
  19. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Oct 13, 2008

    You know, that one is tough to figure out as I'm finding out. Had I been working at home, I would have my objectives by this time, but since I work in a someone else's preschool I sometimes have problems figuring out how to do something if my intuition/experience tells me one thing, but the rules of preschool are different.

    Yea, I CERTAINLY don't expect 2 year olds to recognize days of the weeks, my 6 year old son cannot learn it yet! :eek:
     
  20. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Oct 13, 2008

    I hear that the director is looking for structure. I hear that you are looking to not do plain babysitting. However, there is a land inbetween the two. See plain babysitting isn't child care in any locale. It is the person who you go to for a minute when mom has to run to the store. You watch tv, maybe have a snack and then boom mom is back. There isn't structure-because it is a playdate with an adult (or teen). That isn't child care in any form. When your twos are playing they are working on so much. language and social skills at the very least. Go to the NAEYC site, pull it up and bring what you find to a discussion with the admin.
     

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