CLASSROOM FOCUS – GROUP/CIRCLE TIME
Group/circle time is an integral part of our Montessori programs. These times provide many opportunities for children to experience and practise skills that will assist them in all areas of their development.
Toddlers may be the first time a child has been invited into a structured group situation. Sometimes this may be unsettling or threatening to them. For this reason it is best to allow them time to observe what occurs and when they feel comfortable with what they see, they will gradually join in. Some children will watch from the other end of the room, whilst others may be willing to join the group on the floor but not quite ready to actively participate.
The best way to assist your child is for you to join in with the actions and songs. The children gain a sense of confidence by watching the adults and observing how we participate and enjoy ourselves. This applies not only to your child but also the other children sitting across the circle. Sit next to or behind your child in preference to them sitting in your lap, as this enables you to easily stand up and participate.
Please support your child to listen to the rhymes, songs and directions and then allow them time to respond to my invitations, join in the words or copy my actions. Please allow your child to clap, tap and follow along the actions when they are ready to do so, it can be quite unsettling to them if they are watching and listening to me and someone is picking up their hands in an attempt to get them to clap hands or tap their knees. Much better for you to be role modelling the actions on your own body.
Please refrain from echoing my instructions to your child as this increases the noise level of circle time and sometimes confuses the children. Also it is extremely important not to laugh at any of the children when they say or do something “cute or funny”. This can be very embarrassing to them and affect their confidence and hinder their future involvement.
Many areas of a child’s development are stimulated and nurtured through participating in and/or watching circle/group times. (Please see the blue classroom information sheet for more details about the benefits of circle time.)