If you have ever watched the educational television show, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, then you will know what to expect for our Circle Time!
At 9am, we transition from an hour of Montessori activity or an optional viewing of Sesame Street that is signaled by our “transition chimes”. Together, we sing our Circle Time song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” as we take our places in the family room to gather together.
I begin with casual conversation about an experience or topic relative to the week’s theme (per our curriculum). This is collaborative between the children and I, as we have an open discussion where we all can share our feelings, questions, or ideas about it. The topic is explored further by showing pictures or videos about the topic or a demonstration/exhibit. For example, during the day about ‘coins’, we see a short video (just a few minutes) on how coins are made. Then I would pass around the foreign coins I have so the children can handle them and see the different coins of the world. Our posted Number-of-the-Day would be mentioned during this interaction.
Like in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, where Trolley goes to the land of Make-Believe, we then have a story I read that is connected to our theme. If the day’s topic is ‘coins’, I would read a book like Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells or if the day’s topic is about ‘jobs’, I would read Richard Scarry’s What do People Do All Day? I leave plenty of time after the story for questions and discussion. Our Letter-of-the-Day would be looked for in the title or pages of the book we read.
We finish by updating our calendar, with a mention of the projects we will do that day. Then it is time to check and record the weather outside, which is a segue into our Outside Free Play.
I keep each morning’s Circle Time at approximately 25-minutes to ensure that energetic little bodies have enough time to absorb the lesson and story without losing focus.