Tips for a Successful Circle Time

by Teresa Narey

What is circle time?

Most early child care or preschool educators will tell you that circle time Singing and Clapping During Circle Timeis a staple in their settings. But what is circle time, and how can we do it well? Circle time comes from the tradition of Friedrich Froebel, a German educator responsible for implementing the first organized kindergarten in the mid-19th century. For Froebel,  circle time was a time for children to learn and play in group activities. Circle time then was much like it is now in many school communities—it happened at the beginning and end of each day to help children focus and to reinforce community. Circle time included music and movement, as well as fingerplays and storytelling, and in many settings, these activities still comprise the time. The word “circle” describes the position of the educator and children during the activities—they may sit or move in a circle depending on the activity.

Continue reading

How to Incorporate Cooking in Your Classroom

by Patricia Dietz

Children are naturally curious and love hands-on learning through multiple senses. A great way to encourage more hands-on learning is through cooking in the classroom. Cooking with young children has many benefits for early learning and development, such as fostering early math skills, increasing fine motor skills, developing language and literacy development, engaging the senses, promoting healthy eating, and connecting cultures. Here are some tips and recipe ideas to help you get started with cooking in your classroom.

Continue reading

30 Transition Time Tips

by Katie Brazerol

Transitions are necessary throughout the day. If you’ve been an early childhood educator for even a short amount of time, you’ve probably realized that transitions are not easy for some children in your care.

Children often struggle with transitions because change can be difficult—even for adults. Sometimes the change involves moving from a fun activity, such as playing outdoors on a playground, to a necessary activity, such as cleaning up or washing hands and preparing for lunch. A child who is focusing most of her energy on a task may have trouble switching gears. It is important to first teach children to anticipate upcoming transitions. Give warning that a transition is coming to help children prepare for the change. Then, implement transition strategies that engage the children’s attention and help shift focus.

Below are 30 ideas to help children shift focus and transition to new activities in your setting.

Continue reading

Rain Boots and Mud Pies—Gearing Up for International Mud Day

As early childhood professionals we know that learning can be messy. Children often seem to be at their happiest when they are digging, painting, or creating. In fact, if each of us paused for a moment and thought about it, we could probably easily recall a time when the children in our care were consumed by swirling paint colors and painting over the same area on the page, piling sand into large mounds, or collecting an assortment of sticks and rocks. In each of these activities, children are honing many skills—fine motor, gross motor, cognitive awareness, and math and counting. Help children and families in your setting embrace messy play by getting outside and celebrating International Mud Day on June 29.

Continue reading