Teachers and students should learn and use everyone’s name.
Use words such as “we” and “us” to support the feeling of a team or community.
Use photos of children as much as possible, and involve everyone.
Mix it up!
Group children with new friends, not the same ones they talk to and play with often.
Model the use of kind words and gestures and encourage children to do so as well.
Allow children to express their feelings honestly and safely.
Some practical ideas for making circle time a success:
During circle time you can greet each child by name and encourage others to do that as well. You may also encourage each child to share a little something when they first come to circle time. A simple “finish this sentence” where students have to fill in one or two words about themselves will work well. This gives children some social interaction time, but on the teacher’s terms. Tie this into a book or activity that you are using in your classroom by asking questions that pertain to a certain subject or idea.
Circle time can also be a movement and music experience. This works especially well when children are getting restless. A simple “stand up and turn to your neighbor and give them a compliment” gives children a stretch and promotes kindness and respect.
Have a rotating “star student” who gets to bring in a show and tell item during their “star week.” They can also create a poster about themselves and their family members if they wish.
Use supportive positive statements especially at group time or when children are struggling with a task. These words support confidence and respect for members of the classroom community. Refer to the group as a whole using words like “team, community, and friends.” This supports the community aspect of the classroom.
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