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#1 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you know how long your child's circle time is?

My ds is in an integrated pre-K class (half special needs, half 'typical'). The few times that I have observed (in a secret observation room), the circle time was 25-30 minutes long! These are mostly 3 yr olds!

I've worked in private preschools and have never experienced such a long story time.

The schedule that they have posted shows that circle is typically 20 min long. I think that even that is a long time for kids to sit in a circle. Oh, and the kids sit on chairs for circle, not on the rug.

This is strictly a sit down circle time. No movement/exercise, etc.
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#2 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 03:07 PM
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My DS is almost 4, in a 3-6 class and he has a 20 minute circle time when the children first arrive and then another 20 minute circle time before recess and dismissal. They sit on the circle rug and read stories, sing, do movement, music, etc.
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#3 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 07:58 PM
 
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How did they do? How did the teachers interact with the children during this time?
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#4 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 08:00 PM
 
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And oh, how is a class of 3 yr olds considered 'Pre-K'? That age group is more like Pre Pre K.
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#5 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
And oh, how is a class of 3 yr olds considered 'Pre-K'? That age group is more like Pre Pre K.
Pre-K is usually 3-4 yr olds. Typical in preschools.
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#6 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How did they do? How did the teachers interact with the children during this time?
It was hard to hear (their sound system isn't great) but from what I heard the teacher talked about:
*weather
*day of week
*who's present
*sing a song
*read a book
*talk about what they are going to do that day- Show the daily project, etc

To me, that's way too much in one sitting.
Most of the kids have been in daycare before starting preschool so they are pretty much 'trained'. Some kids were fidgeting. Many were looking around...attentions wandering.
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#7 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 08:50 PM
 
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When I ask how the teachers interacted, I am asking of they understood that 3 yr olds might need to move...

What did they say to them when they were drifting? Were they respectful of their need?
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#8 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 08:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OdeToJoy View Post
Pre-K is usually 3-4 yr olds. Typical in preschools.
That's not 'true' Pre K, however.
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#9 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When I ask how the teachers interacted, I am asking of they understood that 3 yr olds might need to move...

What did they say to them when they were drifting? Were they respectful of their need?
They pretty much ignored the children who were drifting...as long as the child stayed sitting.
My son will NOT stay sitting so it's a battle. I'm constantly trying to get them to see that a long circle time is NOT working. Ugh.
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#10 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
That's not 'true' Pre K, however.
I don't understand. I've worked in preschools for many years and they've always classified preschool children (who were not in Kindergarten) to be Pre-K.
I've worked in RI and MA in preschools.

Does it vary in different states?
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#11 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 09:14 PM
 
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My son was attending a preschool like the OP- mostly special needs kids and a few "model students". Rug time seemed to be about 20minutes, and ds hated it. I think thats a long time to sit totally still. DS2 is 4yo, and couldn't do it. The other kids seemed fine.

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#12 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 09:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OdeToJoy View Post
I don't understand. I've worked in preschools for many years and they've always classified preschool children (who were not in Kindergarten) to be Pre-K.
I've worked in RI and MA in preschools.

Does it vary in different states?

I don't know how it varies...but how is a 3 yr old 'Pre K'? To me, 'Pre' K is the year before K. Or no?
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#13 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 09:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OdeToJoy View Post
They pretty much ignored the children who were drifting...as long as the child stayed sitting.
My son will NOT stay sitting so it's a battle. I'm constantly trying to get them to see that a long circle time is NOT working. Ugh.

So how do they keep the inattentive sitting? Wouldn't a bored child get up and find something better to do? What do you mean by 'battle'? Did they ignore him or not?
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#14 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So how do they keep the inattentive sitting? Wouldn't a bored child get up and find something better to do? What do you mean by 'battle'? Did they ignore him or not?
They now try to set a timer and have my ds sit for 5 minutes, then he's 'allowed' to go off and play for 5 minutes. Then, he has to sit in circle again, etc etc. If he gets up before 5 min, they keep trying to sit him down.

No wonder why he hates school.

Pre K includes preschool children who are too young for Kindergarten. So, 3, 4's and some 5's (who turned 5 too late).
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#15 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 10:42 PM
 
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My ds1 is in an integrated preschool setting- he has autism and is 4. The circle time in the integrated room is 20 minutes in the beginning, then 2 10 minute chunks later. I've not been able to observe, but they do sit on the floor and they are interacting, from what i've been told. In his class, the max is 14 kids, 4 'typical' (or tuition) students and 10 special needs of varying sorts.

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#16 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 10:45 PM
 
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My son is in a similar situation as Shelbean....he's 3 and is also autistic. He's in an integrated school. I actually observed him today, and sat in the room during circle time. It was very active, lots of singing and jumping around. It was probably close to thirty minutes. They sang four or five songs, read a book, sang some more songs, talked about feelings and colors. They go outside and play for thirty minutes after that, and then they come back for a second "circle time" where she says they do more academic stuff, that isn't as active. I think it's a pretty good way that they transition. Lots of activity, up and moving around for about an hour, before they make them do any sit-down work.
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#17 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 11:29 PM
 
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My ds is also in an integrated program~ their circle time is usually 10-15 minutes at the most. They say good morning to each other, sing a song, talk about the day, etc.
My ds has a tough time with it and I've made it clear that I don't want him to be forced to sit there if he doesn't want to do it.. I think that it's a bit too much for him right now, so he usually gets up about halfway through and walks around. As long as he's quiet, they don't mind.
He's really gotten better with it, though, and now he sits there for a much longer length of time..

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#18 of 35 Old 10-18-2006, 11:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OdeToJoy View Post
I don't understand. I've worked in preschools for many years and they've always classified preschool children (who were not in Kindergarten) to be Pre-K.
I've worked in RI and MA in preschools.

Does it vary in different states?
Our program is Pre-K and it is 3 and 4 year olds.

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#19 of 35 Old 10-19-2006, 04:34 AM
 
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I think 20 minutes is a long time for that age group.

As for the preK debate, it depends. Some schools have preK for students 3 and 4-- it is expected that the 3 yos will attend for 2 years. (And it is officially called "preK," not "preschool.") There is no distinction between preschool and preK in those schools. I don't think there is a universal definition.

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#20 of 35 Old 10-19-2006, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all your replies. It does seem that 30 min isn't the norm...especially when the children are not getting up and doing movement along with their songs.
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#21 of 35 Old 10-19-2006, 09:40 PM
 
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Sounds long to me. My son's circle time is 15 minutes. It was only about 20 minutes in my older son's kinder room and that included them standing up and singing.

As for the question about how 3 & 4 year olds is pre-k I just thought the "pre" indicated it was before kinder, but not necessarily immediately preceding kinder???

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#22 of 35 Old 10-20-2006, 12:00 AM
 
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I taught preschool for ten years and was director of two preschools. From a child development stand point, 30 minutes is not developmentally appropriate. Pre K children can't really sit more than 15 minutes at a time. There are exceptions, but this is the general rule.

In my class, I did three group circle times. The first one was a good morning song, welcoming, calendar, weather and another song. After the play ground time, we had a story time circle. During this one we read stories related to our weekly theme and did any related activities. Before lunch, we did music circle time, which was all singing/movement type activities. This one was pretty active. The kids never sat longer than 15 minutes, even if we were singing and moving. It's not developmentally appropriate for them, and would just be a miserable experience for all of us. I'd rather split it up and have everyone enjoy the time.

Technically, pre K is the year before K, which would be 4 and 5 year olds, depending on the child's birthday. Three year olds are preschool, but not really pre k. Unless it is a very small school where they are all lumped together. This is NOT ideal, since there is a large difference in attention span from age three to age four. Also, in true Pre K, the teacher is working to gradually increase their time sitting and working on building attention span to help them prepare for the demands of K.
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#23 of 35 Old 10-20-2006, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I taught in mostly private preschools and yes, the ages were all lumped together. That way, the younger children learn from the older and the older children get to be helpers to the younger children. Most of the schools I worked at were Montessori or Waldorf. Some were just 'regular' preschool.

From what I have learned about child development (not to mention the 20+ yrs experience I have. heh), 30 minutes is too long.
I just wanted to check here to see what most of the other preschools are doing.
I'm probably going to mention the circle time length when I meet about ds's IEP.

Thanks everyone!
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#24 of 35 Old 10-20-2006, 11:08 AM
 
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I used to be a special ed teacher. You've already gotten a lot of responses about the inappropriateness of the demand, so I thought I'd make a suggestion about how the teacher could make it more realistic, in case they refuse to change the circle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OdeToJoy View Post
They now try to set a timer and have my ds sit for 5 minutes, then he's 'allowed' to go off and play for 5 minutes. Then, he has to sit in circle again, etc etc. If he gets up before 5 min, they keep trying to sit him down.
The more effective way of doing this, IMO, would be to figure out how long he can current stay with the group, and only bring him over to sit when there's that much time or a bit less left before the circle ends (roughly, of course, since you can't be absolutely sure to the minute when a circle will end). That way, he gets to be successful (especially if you start off with a bit less time than he can actually do) and he "completes" the activity with the group. When he's got a couple of days of this under his belt, you (meaning them, but you know what I mean) bring him over a couple of minutes earlier. When he's been successful with that a couple of times, bump it up again.

This method helps the kids see the end of the activity as the end of the demand, rather than the more abstract timer which is also harder for them to predict. It also removes the back-and-forth of 5-minutes-on, 5-minutes-off. For a lot of kids, the "breaks" focus them on "When can I get up? Maybe they'll let me get up now. Maybe if I do this or that? Yay, a break! Oh, no, now I have to go back!" It's a lot of unnecessary transitions.

Hope something in here helped.

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#25 of 35 Old 10-20-2006, 11:24 AM
 
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30 minutes seems WAY long to me. In DS's Pre-K (4-5 year olds), they do about 10 minutes at thet beginning of the day. And that's it.

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#26 of 35 Old 10-20-2006, 11:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
I don't know how it varies...but how is a 3 yr old 'Pre K'? To me, 'Pre' K is the year before K. Or no?
In my experience (and I was a preK teacher) preK is the period between toddlerhood and kindergarten. Or 3/4/5 year olds who missed the cutoff.

To the OP, that sounds really inappropriate to me. In good circle time, which balances active movement and sitting, listening and talking, group and individual, you probably can go about 20 minutes, but to just sit still and listen? Too long.

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#27 of 35 Old 10-20-2006, 11:53 AM
 
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Have to chime in here since this is a real issue with me. I am a teacher (my MA is ECE) in an integrated program. This year I am teaching 4s (we are a 3 yr olds are preschool, 4yr olds in the middle where they aren't going to make the k cut off date are in the 4s class and prek is 4 and 5 yr olds who are going to go to K the next year) My circle time is 10-12 mins at the tops and it includes movement!

I also agree it is developmentally inappropriate for circle time to be so long and the kids who really need the social interaction really have a chance to "check out" if they are ignoring it! Really they should be making some changes based on that particular classroom. Last year I also taught 4s and circle time was a little longer because that particular group of 4 yr olds liked to talk so we started circle with me asking if anyone had something to tell us...of course everyone did but it was engaging...not stagnant!

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#28 of 35 Old 10-20-2006, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again everyone!

It's funny...When I dropped ds off this morning, his teacher came over to me and told me that they are going to try to shorten circle time (I think the Preschool Coordinator got on her case). heh heh. She's going to try to shorten it to 20 min. Personally, I think it should be 15 min, tops.

Lisa, I really like the idea of having ds join circle time at the end of it so that he can feel he actually accomplished something.
I will mention it in the communication notebook they send home.

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#29 of 35 Old 10-28-2006, 03:50 PM
 
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Liz, how are things going with the shorter circle time?

~e, wife to my sweet T , mama to my turtleman (12) , sunshine (9 ), and monkey (6)
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#30 of 35 Old 10-28-2006, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not sure. Ds only had two days of school this week and I didn't get a chance to ask his teacher. Not that I'd really believe anything she tells me.
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