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Stages of Physical Growth and Development in Toddlers
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Practicing Circle Time Routines
Consistency is key when building a classroom community. Routines and schedules are important to give children a sense of security and predictability which will build trust between all parties. Routine is very important to young children. Schedule circle time for the same time every day, such as every day after breakfast, as children come in from outside learning or the afternoon snack. The class schedule is easier to remember when associated with another activity. For example, circle time is a great follow-up to recess or meal time. Younger children can use circle time as a time to decompress and transition back into the routine of the class after an unstructured activity such as recess. Older children may enjoy circle time as a means of communicating and building the community bonds between peers.
Following the schedule will give children a sense of security and helps them to know what comes next. Many children know for instance that they will be picked up from childcare after a nap. After children wake up from a nap, you may notice that some of the children begin looking out the window for their family, and telling you that they will be going home soon. Older children are very adept at reminding you if you go off the schedule. “Miss Rachel, we need to have a story after snack!”
Create a routine for the beginning and the end of circle time that will help the children regulate and it will eventually form a habit of engagement. For instance, when it is circle time play the same song, or bang a drum every day at the same time. You may find that the children become used to this routine and will join you on their own. Try to have your circle time after an event when the children do not have to clean up their toys first. If the children have to clean up before circle can begin, it can waste a lot of time and can make coming to circle stressful instead of something they will enjoy and benefit from.