Morning Circle Time

Morning Circle Time

 

Yesterday I talked about what is in our morning basket. I am definitely looking forward to starting this and I know the girls are too (they saw the Mad Libs and Aesop’s Fables sitting in it). This is only half of our morning routine, though.

Ready for circle time.

The other half of our new morning routine caters more to my toddler to help him feel like he is more of a part of our school. Especially since he is a sponge and completely soaks up everything that goes on around him. He is already able to recognize and recall a handful of things (such as his name, the letter B, count to 5, and colors). I want to take advantage of his curiosity [he can seriously ask ‘why’ for 20 minutes before he is willing to accept your answer] and help him build on it. While he is still young and too much “schooling” can have negative effects, I plan on introducing him to new things through our new circle time with songs and do it gradually. And when his attention wanes, we’ll move on.

Our circle time will focus around a tri-fold presentation board. We will start out with adding the date to the calendar followed by reading the full day’s date. We will then move our Days of the Week clothespins and say it all aloud. Then we will go over what season it is. Then we will move our focus over to the right side and, when it’s on the board, we will read the week’s verse aloud. Lastly, before moving on, we will review the week’s themes.

This will then lead us into our morning basket where we begin with singing. (For a complete list of our songs and hymns, head over to my post about the Morning Basket Music.) We will start with some color songs or days of the week songs along with some songs with movement for my ever-energetic toddler. 😉 We will end this time with watching 2 of our favorite videos on YouTube: President’s Rap from Smart Songs and 50 States Song for Kids from Kids Learning Tube. {You can find a whole list of our morning videos over here!}

Following the music, we will jump into our Bible time. Singing the hymns will be a great transition. We will start with our Jesus Calling devotion followed by a Bible story and close with a prayer.

After Bible comes Social Studies with reading a short bit from The Story of The World Volume 1 and then choosing from National Geographic magazines, Inventors and Inventions, or Great Americans. (It is quite possible by this time that I will need to help my toddler find something to occupy himself.)

Language Arts follows Social Studies with a story or two from Aesop’s Fables. Then comes the part my girls were eagerly anticipating: Mad Libs!! (This is to help them learn parts of speech in an entertaining way.) We will then read aloud from a chapter book; we plan to start The BFG by Roald Dahl.

Poetry will come next. We will read either a piece my husband chose from an American Anthology or a piece from Shel Silverstein. After that one is read, I will read one from my Poetry Anthology that is divided up by seasons. This will lead us into our final part for the morning.

Rosie wanted the poem on the table so she could read through it again.

Art! I’m hoping that the final poem we read will give Rosie and Ladybug some inspiration. If not though, I do have a jar of ideas to get them started. Little Man will also join us and over time I will use this time to introduce him to new mediums that I may have been a little hesitant to break out before (such as finger paint).

I have never seen Little Man concentrate so hard on what he was drawing! By the way, he was adding more rays to the sun! 🙂

By this time, it will most likely be time for Little Man’s morning snack. Afterwards, I will work with either Rosie or Ladybug for some one-on-one time and the other will play with Little Man. We’ll work till lunch and then during naptime, we’ll attack our shared subject.

Gotta have that morning snack!

That’s it. There’s our morning time (plus a quick look into the rest of our day). I want to back up and take a closer look at the circle time board I talked about earlier.

Circle Time Board

Initially I wasn’t sure where to start since I’ve never homeschooled preschool. I did some searching on Google and Pinterest to help narrow down what to put on our circle time board. I used a lot of preschool circle time bulletin boards for inspiration.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Calendar

I started by making a calendar in the center of the board.

*You’ll have to excuse the askew pieces on the calendar, Little Man put them up all by himself. 😉 *

Using finger paint paper, a sharpie, and a ruler, I created a blank calendar. There are 2 spots for the month: one for the month in English and one for the month in French. The days of the week are also in English and French. ( I want my kids to learn French and this is a great introduction for all of them.) I also wanted to include which season of the year it was so I made spaces for that and labeled them accordingly. After all that, I bordered the calendar with a construction trucks border that I found at the Dollar Tree to make it more fun.

Why finger pain paper? I used finger paint paper since it’s slick and I though it would hold up best to the months and dates being stuck on the board with sticky-tac without ripping. And, honestly, it’s all I had on hand. 

 

Days of the Week

I wasn’t sure about including this part at first. But my toddler is starting to grasp the idea of what day it is (even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to him yet) so I thought by having it listed out where he will see it everyday will help to familiarize it for him. So, along the left side of my board, I’ve listed out the days of the week in English and French. We are using 3 clothespins labeled “Yesterday was”, “Today is”, and “Tomorrow will be” to keep track of the days of the week.

I also found a fun Days of the Week song that is sung along to the tune of The Addams Family. The girls had fun singing it with me for Little Man.

 

Weekly Themes

To try to make sure I’m introducing Little Man to new things each week, I decided to have themes for the week. Each Monday, we will put up a new color, number, letter, and shape. Without bombarding my toddler with these things all day every day for a week at a time, I’m going to use these weekly themes as a reminder more for me to point out when these things come up (when we’re drawing, reading books, taking a walk, in the store, etc.) and draw his attention to it. The more repetition, the more it’ll stick with him.

 

Weekly Verse

Also on the right side of the board with the weekly toddler themes, I have a spot designated for a verse for the week. I want to make sure the girls and I are working on Bible verse memorization and by having the verse on the board, we’ll make sure we see it everyday and focus on it. I’m going to have the girls write out the week’s verse on a sheet of paper (maybe decorate it?) and we will tape it in its spot.

 

What’s with all the white space?

Ok, that’s a fair question. Putting together a circle time board only occurred to me near the end of our week off. So at this point I was scrambling to have the board ready for our first day back and I simply ran out of time to get the last sections together.

The white section under the calendar will be for ‘What’s Today’s Weather?’.

And to be honest, I haven’t figured out what will go under the Days of the Week section.

 

Where’d the other pieces come from?

I found awesome free printables for the months, dates, years, and seasons in both English and French. I found more awesome and free printables for numbers (up to 12), the alphabet, shapes, and colors (I wrote in the French color on the cards after printing them out). With Rosie’s help, the cards all got printed out, cut, laminated and then cut again. I’m using Dollar Tree sticky-tac to adhere them to their respective spots on the board.

 

In case you missed it, for a deeper look into our Morning Basket you can head here. Also, for a closer look at our music list, you can head over here. In both posts I give a more in-depth look at the pieces of both aspects to our day.

Do you use circle time, or morning time, to start off your day? Do you have a board or a space in your school room? Or any tips you’d like to share for this time with a toddler? Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear what you have to say! 

Have a great day everyone!

9 thoughts on “Morning Circle Time

  1. Love this! I do Mommy school with my girls and we do the Pledge of Allegiance and journaling every day for part of our morning routine. They are only 3 and 16 months, so really only my 3 year old does those things. But I totally agree about having something for younger children, as they soak it all up like a sponge!

  2. I don’t homeschool my twins but I am going to start your letter/number/shape of the week. I started the letters of the week in March and we got up to K and then summer happened and we’ve slowed down 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

    1. I think summer is a slow time for all of us when it comes to schooling of any sort…it’s just too hot around here to do anything! 🙂 You’re welcome and thanks for reading!

    1. Thank you! And I totally understand the squiggly toddler! After about a week or two of circle time with mine, he is starting to sit still a little longer and look forward to putting stuff on the board and then the singing. But then he’s gone. haha It’s a slow process right? 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

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