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2-22-00 Question 8

Dear Preschool Teacher
    I team teach at a state funded preschool. We have a morning aide and afternoon aide. We teach 24 Spanish and English speaking children. Some days we have a hard time getting the children settled down for circle and music time. (it is after center's) How can I get their attention?
Settle for circle

Dear Settle for Circle,
Settling the children down after centers is one of the great challenges for any teacher. Below are many suggestion from the "Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff to help guide you in the right direction. Singing seems to be the popular answer and I too, use alot of signing in my classroom for transition times. You might want to invest in the book by Totline, Piggy Back Songs, Transitions. It does not seem to be available though Amazon or other online bookstores so you might want to ask you local teacher store. Or call Totline at 1-800-609-1724. You can also find many transition songs on the Preschool Education Page. Another hint is warning can work wonders. Don't just end center time, tell the children that centers will end in 10 min, centers will end in 5 min. Give them a count down. It really does help.
The Preschool Teacher

Dear Settle for Circle,
    One way to maybe get the children to sit and join in is to get them more involved. Sing a song with their name in it.. or even without their name.. like.. I like the way that Kathy sits Kathy sits Kathy sits.. you just have to make sure you include everyone. Another way to get them involved is to have someone help you do the calendar or the weather bear. Just keep in mind that your circle time should not be too long or you will lose their interest!
"Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff member

Dear Settle for Circle,
I sometimes sing:
  I wiggle fingers, I wiggle my nose, I wiggle my hands, I wiggle my toes. And now that the wiggles are all out of me, I can sit down and hear a story.

You can also, turn out the light.  Tell or sing that there is five more minutes to play. I sing like this:  
Five more minutes, there's five more minutes to play.  And keep singing that.  Than when they are all done, sing, Let's sit down, it's time to sit down. And keep singing that until they do. 

You can also lay down carpet squares or books, or shapes for them to sit down and look at.  That way when they see you putting out the squares with the books that means it's time to sit down.
"Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff member

Dear Settle for Circle,
    I think after centers, the children need a little time to shake the willies out. Perhaps you could settle them down with a moving record, this can be done at circle time. You could also have some songs that have hand movements with them.  There are many records and songs that have body movement to them standing and sitting down.  I would suggest that you try this.  If your school does not have any of these records or songs, perhaps you could go to the library.  I really enjoy Hap Palmers records.  I hope that this will work for you during circle and music time.
"Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff member

Note: You can find Hap Palmer records at Amazon. Please use the link below

In Association with

Dear Settle for Circle,
    Several good replies have already been made.  An addition on is MUSIC! Do you or any of your assistants play the piano or guitar?  A strum on the guitar or autoharp works wonders with young children - of all nationalities. Plus, you could use it for a transition into music time.
    Just be sure to stagger the parts of the day - after a quite time, have a moving time, then follow with a quite time, etc.  Children have energy that needs to be released. Have fun!
"Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff member

Dear Settle for Circle,
    I have always found success with a daily circle routine that begins the same way
every day.  Try gathering them with this song, to the tune of Frere Jacques:
Make a circle, make a circle
Big and round, big and round
Everybody join hands, everybody join hands
Let's sit down, let's sit down!
Maybe you can do the song in Spanish too ;o))
Once they are in their circle, you might want to begin with a welcoming song which includes the kids names, if you know one. Then, begin with your planned circle.
Good luck.
"Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff member

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