Sonoma County Office of Education

Teachable Moment: Circle Time in Laura Temple's Preschool Classroom

09/25/2019 - Circle time at Olivet Preschool

Last month’s Teachable Moment focused on how a SCOE alternative education teacher builds community and starts the day on a positive note by holding a community circle each morning with his students. This month’s interview shows that circle time can be beneficial for students of all ages.

Laura Temple, a SCOE Special Education Preschool Teacher at Olivet Elementary, teaches young children who receive specialized health services. “I work toward maximum interest and engagement for my students,” she says. One way she does this is by bringing her students together for circle time each morning. The students gather on a colorful rug to check in for the day, talk about which classmates are at school, and enjoy music and movement together.

A young preschool girl shakes a rattle during circle time

A picture schedule shows the routine that will be followed in the circle so that students know what to expect. At the same time, the routine is flexible, based on the needs and strengths of the students present that day.

“I try to customize circle time based on my students’ interests and abilities,” says Ms. Temple.

She recommends the concept of a “layered” circle time for teachers of young students. Layered circles allow teachers to start with activities that are accessible and interesting to all students, then further customize the circle as some students who are only able to handle a short group session move on to other projects.

Following is a song that Ms. Temple enjoys sharing with her students during this time of year.

A young boy feels new textures with the help of a teacher's aide.

Five Little Pumpkins

Five little pumpkins
Sitting on a gate
The first one said,
"Oh, my, it's getting late!"
The second one said,v "There are witches in the air!"
The third one said,
"But we don't care!"
The fourth one said,
"Let's run and run and run!"
The fifth one said,
"I'm ready for some fun!"
OOOOOOOH, went the wind
And OUT went the light (clap on "out")
And the five little pumpkins
Rolled out of sight.