Observations are often at the very core of a teacher’s day. From the moment a child walks through the door a teacher can tell if they are having a typical day or if something seems to be troubling them. Observing the children in your care will also result in more effective planning of all activities as well as circle time. Often circle time can prove to be a helpful tool in determining a child’s mood, needs, or special circumstances when applicable. Simple behavior observations during this time can be helpful. Your observations will tell you who is wiggly, who is talkative, who is developing certain skills, and who needs to sit next to you. Take this into consideration.
If you hear yourself saying “Becky should already know how to do this” and she doesn’t, please realize that this means she needs your help to remember. Teachers sometimes confuse a behavior issue with forgetfulness, or some other factor that may be influencing the child’s emotions that day. Look deeper; try to find out why a child may have a change in behavior on a particular day. A child who is usually productive at circle and has a change in behavior may have one of the following challenges: illness, a toothache, hunger, tired, has family concerns, or maybe her best friend did not come to school that day.
Prevention of behavior problems is easier than dealing with them when they pop up. One key factor in preventing challenging behavior is your environment. Keep the room temperature comfortable. Have enough space for the children to sit, recline, or dance comfortably without touching someone else, or fiddle with equipment or materials. How are the children arranged? Do they all pile in, or are there carpet squares or spots for each child? Many teachers ask the children to sit on the edge of the carpet. Having the children sit in chairs works sometimes, but does not lend itself to the movement activities that should be a part of circle time.
Simple activities such as singing a song that has hand or feet movements can work well for circle time with any age group. Giving children an item to hold or pass along the circle can also be a simple way to involve movement in your circles. Likewise, a welcoming song at the beginning of circle time can get all children involved and interested in the group time.
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