NAEYC Circle Time: What Is It and Why It’s Important?

No two children are the same – but all kids need peer engagement to thrive in preschool and beyond.

Whether it is tummy time or nap time, there are endless activities and recommendations for early childhood education. One such method for preschool-aged children is circle time, a NAEYC-developed concept designed to acclimate your child to social settings.

Preschool children are active, curious, and ready to learn. The NAEYC circle time method is an excellent way for your child to become acquainted with classmates and get their creative juices flowing. NAEYC circle time is a safe space for your child to be themselves and engage with their peers.

Read on for more information on what NAEYC circle time is and how it benefits your child during their preschool stage and future endeavors.

naeyc circle time

What Is Circle Time? 

Circle time is a daily activity where children and adults sit together and engage in activities and discussions. All activities include some form of community engagement between the children and establishing a routine. The procedure is usually the first exercise of the day. 

During NAEYC circle time, teachers will do the following. 

  • Greet each child by name
  • Review the calendar
  • Sing songs
  • Read stories
  • Discuss the theme of the day
  • Perform a group activity

Of course, children’s interests vary from day to day. Teachers may adjust what they do (or do not do) during circle time, depending on the children in their class. Restless students may have more fun during song time or group activities, while quiet groups appreciate storytime. 

Teachers also do not have to stick to the same routine every day. While solidifying a schedule is essential, kids like variety – and switching up circle time now and again keeps preschool children engaged.

Why Is NAEYC Circle Time Important? 

NAEYC circle time helps children feel comfortable with their environment and peers. It also helps them learn to pay attention and respect rules. In addition, NAEYC circle time gives children a chance to practice their communication and social skills

Some children (such as only children) do not communicate with other kids until they go to preschool. Programs that implement NAEYC circle time can help them relate with others, an essential social-emotional skill for life.

12 Skills Your Preschooler Will Learn During Circle Time

During NAEYC circle time, your child will discover ways to stay attentive and manage emotions effectively. A child that arrives at preschool noticeably irritable will likely cheer up after an engaging group activity. 

Below are a few in-depth aspects of circle time that will benefit your child. 

1. How To Pay Attention to Detail

Activities during NAEYC circle time encourage your child to pay more attention. These activities will help them learn how to focus on tasks and follow instructions. 

For example, helping them count objects during the calendar review is one activity that can help them learn this skill. In this activity, the teacher holds up a certain number of fingers, and your child will need to count how many they see. This practice benefits their spatial reasoning and causes them to pay attention to the instructor.

Your child will also learn to pay attention to detail when listening to stories during circle time. They will likely need to sit still and listen carefully as the teacher narrates a story followed by related questions, songs, or other activities.  

2. How To Listen to Others 

During NAEYC circle time, your child will learn to listen to others. Comparable to learning how to share, listening to others is vital for preschool children, as they carry their tendencies throughout most of their life. 

Circle time allows each child to express themselves and speak (if they choose to) while reacting to classmates and listening to stories. Several studies demonstrate that games particularly help children listen to their peers and solidify their concepts of fairness.

3. How To Follow Rules 

Even to adults, sometimes rules do not make sense – however, they still need upholding. In NAEYC circle time, your child will learn the rules and how to follow them. The instructor will likely go over classroom etiquette each day before class.

Following the rules benefits your child because it may keep them out of sticky situations later. Some children are rowdier and tend to cause trouble. The circle method may help them observe rules but continue to be their adventurous selves.

An excellent way to implement rule-following in a fun way via circle time is to feature a game with physical movement. Freeze dance, or playing a song and having the students stop when the music pauses, lets them express themselves but respect rules simultaneously.

4. How To Communicate

Communication skills are vital for almost every aspect of life. From school to college to careers, knowing how to speak to others respectfully is an invaluable trait. Social cues go a long way, and your child will learn how to read the room and explain their thoughts coherently. 

Children usually love talking about themselves. A great way to inspire conversation is choosing a question of the day – allow every child to give their answer (there are no right or wrong ones!), and they may discuss it amongst themselves. The questions should not be complex and use vocabulary that they understand.

5. Fine and Gross Motor Skill Improvements 

Circle time also helps with physical development. Fine motor skills involve the small muscles in the hands and learning how to control them. Your child needs to develop fine motor skills for everyday activities like grasping food, buttoning a shirt, and writing. 

Gross motor skills, the other physical benefit of circle time, involve the entire body – the core, legs, back, and arms develop from dancing or games.

6. Social Skills Such as Sharing and Taking Turns 

Circle time helps children implement self-regulation, a crucial aspect of social skills. Self-regulation involves controlling emotions and knowing when to speak. The NAEYC circle time program does this through storytime and daily greeting.

When kids greet one another every day, they learn common courtesy and kindness. Doing this daily allows the activity to become commonplace, so children understand how to initiate conversation and introduce themselves.

Taking turns is another essential aspect of self-regulation and can be tricky with preschoolers. The best way to promote taking turns is to turn it into a game. Each child should have a turn and a role in gameplay.

7.How To Overcome Challenges 

Challenges are inevitable, and your child can learn this (to some degree) in circle time. For example, they may become frustrated while waiting to speak or playing a game that is not their first choice. 

Circle time teaches your child that not everything goes their way – and that other children deserve a chance to speak, too. This process helps encourage empathy.

8. Practice of Routine 

NAEYC circle time is an excellent way for your child to establish a routine. Chances are they will attend school for the next 12-13 years, so regulating themselves to a set schedule is a lifelong skill.

Teachers implement this by having circle time at the beginning of class for a specific amount of time. The activities and games can vary, but the time spent in circle time should remain the same.

9. How To Make New Friends 

NAEYC circle time is an ideal way for your kids to make friends. They have the opportunity to talk with their peers and learn about their interests. Your child will also learn how to cooperate with others. These skills will help them make friends both in and out of school. 

10. How To Remain Creative 

NAEYC circle time helps your child remain creative. They can express their thoughts and feelings through art, music, and movement. 

Even if your child shows little interest in learning a musical instrument or drawing, the stimulation of dancing or painting helps them focus and use multiple parts of their brain and body.

11. Prepare Them For School 

One goal of circle time is to prepare your child for kindergarten and future schooling. With a practiced routine, learning activities, and engaging with peers, your child has the tools they need for kindergarten.

All of this helps them understand patience and the importance of time. In addition, they learn about other resources they need to be successful, such as teamwork and cooperation. 

12. Make Learning More Fun 

After attending NAEYC circle time, your child will hopefully become motivated to learn more. A positive circle time experience often leads to participating in extracurricular activities and interacting with their peers. 

Getting exposed to various new experiences may help your child develop a love for learning. It adds to increased motivation for going to school and communicating with children of other demographics.

three preschoolers doing art activities

How We Apply NAEYC Circle Time at Kids Care Club

At Kids Care Club, your child will experience a healthy environment of diversity and inclusion. You can rest assured that our schools and teachers focus on helping your child develop to their full potential.

NAEYC Accredited Program 

NAEYC circle time is beneficial for children, teachers, and parents. Children will learn to pay attention, respect rules, communicate with others, and develop social skills. Teachers gain the opportunity to create a sense of community in the classroom.

Kids Care Club obtained accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our programs meet and exceed the NAEYC professional standards for early childhood education. 

The Kids Care Club believes every child deserves an inclusive, productive environment surrounded by positivity. Rest assured that your child will be in a safe space where they can be themselves and learn essential life skills.

Our Company Philosophy

At Kids Care Club, we believe that every child is special and unique. We strive to provide a safe, nurturing environment where your child can grow and learn. 

We encourage learning and school readiness, but we also want your child to grow at their own pace. Every child is unique, and we want to reinforce their uniqueness through positive communication and inclusion.

Our Mission

We believe in providing children with a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment from an early age. Our mission is to provide quality care and an enrichening curriculum that promotes social skills and school readiness while encouraging children to develop at their own pace.

Our Teachers

We prioritize hiring qualified early childhood educators to help your child learn most effectively. They have the necessary early childhood experience units and experience needed to provide your child with a quality education. 

We understand that entrusting your child’s care to someone else can be difficult. That’s why we work hard to ensure that all of our teachers are qualified, caring, and nurturing. They also have experience working within the NAEYC framework. 

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your child reach their full potential.

Additional Resources

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