Why Preschool Circle Time is Important for Your Students

When it comes to childcare, few activities are as important (or beloved) as preschool circle time. It’s almost impossible to find a program that doesn’t have some type of circle time routine, and different iterations of the activity can be found in classrooms across the globe.

But do you know why the classroom staple of preschool circle time is so essential?

At LifeCubby, the team behind our award-winning childcare software is stacked with former educators who know firsthand the importance of circle time and have experience planning the perfect circle time activities for preschoolers.

They used that knowledge to create this guide on all things circle time:

What is preschool circle time?

Originally developed in Germany, preschool circle time is an activity that brings together the entire classroom to learn in an open, engaging and light-hearted environment. Group time can happen once a day, or serve as a transition activity for students. It can also be led by teachers, assistant teachers or students. It often takes place seated on the floor or in a circle of chairs.

Why is it so important?

Regularly participating in preschool circle time can benefit students in numerous ways including:

Social Development: One of the biggest benefits of group time is the ability for students to connect and socialize with their peers. By engaging with one another, students learn more about themselves and how they relate to each other. Circle time also offers students an opportunity to learn more about how to engage with adults and how to express their thoughts in a group setting.

Improved Listening Skills: Because group time often involves discussion and engagement, students have to actively pay attention to what their teacher and/or fellow students are saying. As a result, it’s a great opportunity for them to establish and hone their listening skills.

School Readiness: Unlike some preschool environments, elementary school tends to be very structured and routine-driven. By regularly participating in group time, you can help familiarize your students with the concepts of routines and schedules. Plus, the academic lessons taught in circle time can help prepare kids for success later on.

Increased Motivation: By incorporating games and activities into circle time, you can make learning fun for your students. They’ll have something to look forward to each day and it’ll help get them excited about attending school.

How should the time be structured?

Preschool circle time can be used for a variety of things: from introducing new concepts to rounding out activities. Regardless of the use, be sure you’re engaging your students and encouraging them to actively participate (rather than just listen quietly). Students who feel engaged will not only behave better during the time, but also enjoy the experience more.

When should group time occur and for how long?

Preschool circle time is most effective when it happens daily, so try to set aside time for at least one group session each day. The length of your circle time should depend on the attention span of your children. We recommend starting out short (three minutes is a good starting point) and then increasing the length of time as your students grow and mature.

What circle time activities for preschoolers are best?

As we mentioned earlier, the best circle time activities for preschoolers are those that actively involve them in the lesson. Some of our favorites include:

Alphabet Soup: This literacy activity from No Time for Flashcards is a fun way for students to combine make-believe play with learning. For older students, have them share a sight word that starts with the letter they’ve spooned out.

Jump into a Book: What better time to go through a story than when the entire classroom is together? Select a book and share it with the class, regularly stopping to discuss what’s happening, important themes and more. Before you start, be sure to check out these tips for group reading.

Counting Rhymes: These animal-inspired rhyme games from KidSparkz will have your students laughing, singing and learning their numbers all at once. We recommend printing each piece out and laminating it so you don’t have to worry about continued wear and tear.

Sing it Out: Studies show that students learn best when there’s a song involved, so spice up your group time with these songs from Lovely Commotion.

Whether you’re looking to plan, schedule or document your circle time, LifeCubby’s easy-to-use management software can help! To learn more about how LifeCubby can help make your preschool circle time (and center life) a breeze, click here.