Circle Time on the First Day – Establishing Routines Part 1The first day of school is about establishing routines in the Montessori preschool classroom and we all know that preschoolers love routines! Preschoolers thrive on understanding how their day will unfold and predicting what will happen throughout the day. The first week of school can often be a little scary and stressful for some young Montessori students because they aren't yet able to predict how the day will unfold and it is the Montessori teacher’s responsibility to make the transition as simple and stress-free as possible!
Each Montessori school structures their day slightly differently. I prefer to begin my day with a circle time to get acquainted and to orient them to the Montessori classroom. I love gathering the children together and helping them to feel a real sense of community, and I try my best to show them that this is their Montessori classroom. I delight in hearing them share stories that are special to them, sing songs, ask questions and bond with one another. The first week, my aim is to make my circle routine in the Montessori classroom as predictable as possible and I share below a basic outline of what I typically do, as well as some great songs and activities for your classroom.
Montessori Circle Time Routines for the First Day: Welcome Songs
Greeting Arriving StudentsI always have peaceful music playing while the children are arriving. The children enter the class and shake the hand of the teacher who is welcoming them at the door. They are directed to find their personal cubby, take off their shoes and coat, put on their indoor slippers and find a spot to sit on the floor in circle.
Focusing Attention With SongsOnce the majority of the children have arrived, I turn off the music and sing a welcoming song to ensure that I have their attention. I find movement songs work the best for focusing their attention. A quick song like the one below works very well:
Circle Time – Getting AcquaintedI welcome everyone and let them know how happy I am to see them all and how excited I am to meet our new classmates. I might then tell them that I brought something special to help me learn their names and to help them learn the names of all their new Montessori classmates. I pull a ‘Mystery Bag’ out from behind my back and reach in very slowly. The children are usually very quiet at this point and anxiously anticipating what I am going to pull out. Slowly, I pull out a bumblebee puppet showing a little bit of the puppet at a time. I then pass the bumblebee around the circle while I sing the following song and ensure that I remember to include each of the Montessori teachers as well as any class pets that we might have. They love it when I get to Speckles, our African Dwarf Frog and Monty, our Beta fish!
I have included below a few examples of simple greeting songs that can be implemented during the first circle time. Part 2 of this series on Circle Time will cover classroom orientation.
Hello (Original Author Unknown)Sung to: "Frere Jacques"
Roll Your Hands (Original Author Unknown)
Start the Day (Original Author Unknown)Sung to: "Merrily we roll along"
Glad To See You (Original Author Unknown)Sung to: "Frere Jacques"
Greeting Song (Original Author Unknown)Sung to: "The farmer in the dell"
Welcome (Original Author Unknown)Sung to: "Happy Birthday"
How We Start Our Day (Original Author Unknown)Sung to: "The Mulberry bush"
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, September 2, 2010.