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Child won't participate in circle time

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

We have been attending the parent child circle at our local Waldorf school for well over a year and a half and both I and my son love it, main thing i notice is that he is not "present" in the beginning circle before snack, he prefers to play with toys, or hide for fun under a table or interact with any other child that is not quite there either and I am wondering if this is some sort of red flag... he is very bright and communicative and will happily chop the apples, grind the oats and sometimes do washing in the past... When he is in the circle, he does not copy the gestures of the teacher like the other kids ( sometimes he does but rarely)

Does anyone have any similiar experience with their young child age 3 , someone told me it can be a mark of ADHD when the child does not mirror the gestures of the teacher/participate in circle time????

post #2 of 13

My daughter is 2 1/2 and goes to a Montessori toddler program with me. She is very bright, like you are describing your son, and does all the activities, except for circle time. She will not do any of it. She will sit on my lap during it, but will not participate. At home I do hear her singing the songs and doing the activities that the teacher was doing. I have attributed it to her being shy. She's not shy in interacting with children, but she does not like to have lots of people watching her do something, especially in a new situation. 

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply, I am not putting it down to shyness but I am thinking he thinks it is silly and therefore foregoes it, we had a similar situation in another class where they had a puppet and the teacher put on some music to dance to and step on certain paper plates ( he said it is stupid and I dont want to go, I don't like the music, the puppet ect.)

post #4 of 13

That reminds me- my daughter also once told me after I asked her why she didn't want to do circle time, "I'm a big girl, mommy." I guess it's all how they perceive it!

post #5 of 13

I could have written your post.  DD will be 3 in a week or so, and also has zero interest in circle time.  She starts in with the toys or stands back and watches.  At home, she sings all of the songs and even does some of the fingerplays.  I don't know!  She isn't shy in general but for some reason...not interested in circle time.  I actually thought she might be bored by it.  Eh!

post #6 of 13

we went to parent-child for 2 years (DD was older, 3-4y/o) and she did not like circle time either. or snack time LOL

she wasnt shy, as it was a small group with 2 close friends - it wasnt the teacher because we had different teachers...who knows??


however, now she is in 5day K and loves it. 

post #7 of 13


Originally Posted by star22 View Post

he is not "present" in the beginning circle before snack, he prefers to play with toys, or hide for fun under a table or interact with any other child that is not quite there either


... he is very bright and communicative

High levels of activity and short attention spans are, to a degree, age appropriate for preschool-aged children. Is he impulsive or hyperactive? Is he a dreamer that "zones out"? I would not be concerned with ADHD unless their are other sings, because #1 he is a boy and #2 he is only 3. Although not all boys are more active than the average girl, it is generally observed that they move about more while playing. It could be his inborn qualities and his approach to learning.


You mentioned that he is communicative, but does he interact appropriately in social context with peers or maybe just with family? Does he understand the give and take in conversations? Does he seem to understand what he hears or facial expressions, or gestures? Can he express his needs and wants in meaningful ways?

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

He is extremely communicate and off the charts in verbal skills in his main language and understands perfectly a second language, extremely gregarious and not all shy with strangers, very observant, I guess it is pointing to non interest on his part and boredom with the process...no issue with communication on any level and making his needs known...

post #9 of 13

My son (now 4.5) was very much like that at that age, right down to hiding under the table. It turned out that he has sensory processing disorder and circle time just didn't work for him. He's still not much into participating in group settings, but he'll come home and do everything they did at circle or class on his own. He absorbs everything. He just won't perform and he has a very liberal definition of what that means. ;)

post #10 of 13

at our play group, we encourage circle time, but it's not absolute. some children just need to continue to play. it usually goes in waves. DS was out of it for a while (not doing the rhythm *at all* at the play group), but now that other rhythms are coming on line, he's back in the rhythm. sometimes he participates in the songs/finger games, and sometimes he just sits and watches.


but, at home, he will sing and do the games on his own, or ask me to lead him in those games, and so on. 


my guy is very smart and active, but because our rhythm was not meeting his needs (and his father wasn't getting what i was trying to tell him until we got help), he just was "spinning out" due to frustration. 

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response, I am curious on your comment " your rhythm was not meeting his needs" can you explain further and what you did to address that, maybe we have the same issue?

post #12 of 13

ds (3 1/2) also HATES circle time... even when he was just a baby he hated circle time... *sigh*  i jusy hope he grows out of it... DSD at 7 still looves it and ds2 (1yr) seems to be into it. :shrug

post #13 of 13

Hi, I'm a former child psychologist as well as preschool teacher.  That is completely normal for that age!  I wouldn't stress about it for one minute.  Even at age 4 (but certainly at age 3) some children just aren't developmentally ready for group activities and interaction.  They are still in the parallel play mode, and that's okay.  When I taught, there were always 1-2 children out of the class that just wasn't into the whole group dynamic of circle time.  And as long as they were not disturbing everyone else, I just let them be.  You would be amazed though that they usually are soaking up everything you say, do, and sing in circle time even if they aren't participating.  Just go at the child's pace!

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