Title "5 Types of Storytime Seating" on colourful background

Circle time. That point when the entire class gathers around the teacher for songs, stories, and activities.

This can be a tricky part of the day for the teacher, as the children wiggle and get distracted by their friends. Different seating arrangements can help eliminate certain distractions. Also, different seating arrangements work better in different environments and with different budgets. Here are some pros and cons of 5 unique types of storytime seating for preschoolers that I’ve used. 

Note: the images included are for your reference. They do not indicate any partnership with or recommendation for those specific carpets and/or companies. The links are not affiliate links.

  1. Small carpet (with no individual spots)

  • This could be any rug you have around that is big enough for all the children to sit on. I have seen blankets or bamboo mats used as well.
  • Pros:
    • Use what you have, rather than buying a new expensive rug
    • Can fit a large number of children on a smaller space since there aren’t individual spots to sit on
    • Gives the children a defined area to sit during storytime
  • Cons:
    • Beware, rugs with very colourful designs can make it hard to spot toys, thus making clean up difficult and stepping on toys more likely
    • Children may jostle for position and argue since there are no boundaries providing needed personal space
    • Children are likely to crowd into multiple rows causing added distraction
    • Children have a hard time seeing what the teacher is holding since they are not arranged well
  1. Carpet with multiple rows of individual seating spots

  • These carpets can be square or designed to fit into a corner like a slice of pizza. Often, if all the spots are filled, you will end up with three rows of children directly behind each other.

Preschoolers sitting on corner circletime rug Children sitting on large classroom carpet

 

  • Pros:
    • Typically specifically designed for school type settings
    • Often high-quality carpets that will last several years
    • Often include an educational element such as shapes, or numbers
    • Children have specified spots to sit on with the goal of having the seating well-spaced – not too close and not too far
    • Multiple sizes designed for different numbers of children are available
  • Cons:
    • Often expensive
    • May be hard to clean
    • Can cause difficulties with children kicking those in the row in front of them
    • Back row of children often are not as attentive to the teacher
  1. Large oval or rectangular rug (with seating spots)

  • These are very standard storytime seating for preschools to have. There are many different designs from letters to woodland animals and more.Children sitting on rug for circletime
  • Pros:
    • No back row of children meaning the teacher can see all the children and the children are not distracted the same way as those with multiple rows
    • Many beautiful designs to choose from, including educational themes
    • Are large enough to accommodate many children
    • Individual spots on the rug for children to sit on
    • Typically specifically designed for school type settings
    • Often high-quality carpets that will last several years
  • Cons:
    • Your classroom must have a large open space to set this rug
    • Difficult to find a place for the teacher to sit where all the children can see (some may be behind another child along the side)
    • Depending on where the teacher sits, some children will be sitting a considerable distance from the teacher making it difficult to see what the teacher is holding, or for the teacher to hear the child talking
    • Most are very heavy if you have to move them
    • Can be difficult to clean
    • Typically expensive
  1. Individual story spots or carpets

  • Story spots come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colours. They may be individual sized squares of carpet, or circle shaped cushions. They could even be laminated pieces of paper. The thing that makes them all fit in the same category is that they are one spot per child and that they are movable.Child sitting on story spots
  • Pros:
    • Spots can be rearranged to whatever shape fits your space.
    • Can be stacked on the shelf during playtime allowing more space for toys
    • Might be machine washable
    • You choose how many to use rather than always having 12 spots if you only have 10 children.
  • Cons:
    • Spots are not secured to the floor allowing children to move them around which can be distracting
    • Creates an extra task for the teacher (or children) to set them up and put them away every day
    • If used on hard floor, the spots may be slippery if stepped on
    • Can be expensive
  1. Tape

  • Rather than buying a rug, take a roll of masking tape and put it on the floor in a large “u” or semi-circle around the teacher’s chair. The children will sit on the tape. (Alternatively cut pieces of paper and use clear tape to secure them to the floor)
  • Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • Can be placed in any shape, according to your needs
    • Can adjust length of tape to accommodate any size of class
    • Children do not argue over getting their favourite colour or letter
    • No second row (unless you want to make one)
    • No heavy rug or stack of story spots to deal with
  • Cons:
    • Children may pick at the tape and pull it off
    • Lack of individual spots means the children sometimes sit too close to each other causing irritation
    • Leaving the tape down for several weeks, or during deep cleaning, may leave lines on the floor
    • Tape will need to be replaced from time to time as it wears out or the children pull it off
    • Not ideal on hard floor as it does not protect children from hard surfaces or cold floors

That’s a long list of pros and cons to consider. If you were to ask me which storytime seating for preschoolers I prefer, I would likely say using tape is my preference. However, this, of course, depends on the program and the space available.

What is your preferred storytime seating for preschoolers? Can you think of pros or cons I didn’t include in this post?

Muffin packed in preschool snack box

5 tips from a preschool teacher

Do you have a preschooler? Do you pack snacks for them? Then you’re in the right place. Keep reading to discover five useful tips I’ve learned from observing the preschool snack packing techniques of countless parents.

Please keep in mind that each individual is unique. Use discretion when deciding which tips will be useful for you.

  1. Involve Your Child

    • Children enjoy and benefit from having opportunities to choose. Try involving them in picking what to have for snack, but keep the options limited. For example, you could ask them if they want an apple or a banana. Or you could ask if they want white cheese or orange cheese. Be sure that the choices you give them are all ones you are happy with them making.
  2. Limit the Options

    • Deciding how many food options to pack in your child’s snack can be tricky. Not enough food leaves them hungry. At the same time, did you know that sending too many options can cause a child to eat less? Of course, this depends on the child’s personality. Some children become overwhelmed or indecisive when presented with too many options. Sending two or three decent sized food choices is often better than six.
  3. Offer Healthy vs. Unhealthy Options

    • Many parents complain to me that their children only eat sugary processed food. If given the option, the majority of children will eat the sugary and/or processed treat in their snack first. This may leave them with little appetite or no time to eat the healthy options you packed for them. If this is a concern for you, try packing only healthy options such as fruit or vegetables and perhaps some crackers. Most children will be happy to eat healthy snacks, if those are the only options you provide.
    • Note that if the child has learned to expect a sugary snack, it may take a few days for them to decide to eat the healthier options.
  4. Send Two+ Food Groups

    • While we’re on the topic of the options to pack for snack, one preschool I worked at insisted that parents include at least two food groups in the snack. Food groups include: fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, and meat/alternatives. Including options from at least two of these food groups is a great rule of thumb in providing a wholesome snack.
  5. Change Things Up.

    • Rather than sending the exact same snack every day, try changing it up from time to time. This suggestion, again, depends on your child. Some children prefer the exact same snack every day, while others quickly get bored of repetition. Eating a wide variety of food is a healthy thing to do.
    • To keep from getting stuck in a snack-time rut, keep a list readily available, like my 11 Quick and Easy Wholesome Preschool Snack Ideas.

Have you tried any of these tips, or do you have others to add? Leave a comment.

Child wearing winter clothing: coat, mittens, hat.

 

This is one of my favourite winter preschool songs. My preschoolers enjoy its full-body actions and snowy day application. I recommend it for children ages 2-4.

It’s cold outside today, it’s cold outside today,

Brr, brr, it’s cold outside, it’s cold outside today.

 

I put my coat on, I put my coat on,

Brr, brr, it’s cold outside, I put my coat on.

 

I put my snowpants on, I put my snowpants on,

Brr, brr, it’s cold outside, I put my snowpants on.

 

Boy in winter gear sledding

Additional verses:

  • I put my boots on
  • I put my mittens on
  • I put my scarf on
  • I put my hat on

Actions:

  • As you sing “I put my ____ on” move as though putting that item on.
  • When you sing “It’s cold outside today” and “Brr, brr, it’s cold outside” hug yourself tight and rub your hands on your arms as though cold.

 

This song can be sung sitting or standing. I like to sing it standing up because the actions then become full-body. Pretending to put on boots and snowpants provides a good opportunity to encourage children to reach for their feet and stand on one foot. Many of the actions encourage hand-eye coordination and body awareness.

 

Tips:

  • Encourage the children to guess, based on your actions, which item they will put on next.
  • Keep this song for especially cold days when the children arrive bundled up. This gives the song real-life application.
  • Use this song as a high excitement song to help burn some of the pent up energy which often exists on days too cold to go outside.

What is your favourite winter preschool song?

Preschool Christmas Song - Christmas tree

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” has been my favourite preschool Christmas song to teach my class for several years. Why? There are many reasons.

  • The words and tune are simple and repetitive, enabling children to catch on faster.
  • Children aged 2-4 years old enjoy this song.
  • The actions are full-body motions to get kids moving.
  • The simple actions enable younger children and children with developmental delays to join in.
  • It is a good song for giving the children bells to ring.

Another reason this song is a go-to for me is that it can be used in Christian or secular programs. When I worked in a Christian preschool, we sang this song along with songs about baby Jesus. It fit well. At the same time, in some Lite Bright Christmas Treesecular programs, this song is acceptable. It does not teach about Jesus or Santa Claus, leaving parents the freedom to choose what they teach their children about Christmas. In secular settings, I sing this song alongside Jingle Bells, which is another song traditionally sung around Christmas time, but without any mention of Jesus or Santa.

I wish you a wonderful Christmas, filled with deep joy that leaves you singing a cheery song like this one!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Let’s All Do A Little Clapping)

By: Unknown

 

We wish you a merry Christmas,

We wish you a merry Christmas,

We wish you a merry Christmas,

And a happy New Year!

 

Let’s all do a little clapping,

Let’s all do a little clapping,

Let’s all do a little clapping,

To bring Christmas cheer!

 

Let’s all do a little stomping,

Let’s all do a little stomping,

Let’s all do a little stomping,

To bring Christmas cheer!

 

Additional verses:

Let’s all do a little jumping…

Let’s all do a little turning…

Let’s all do a little dancing…

What is your favourite preschool Christmas song?
Why I Give Preschoolers Stickers for Craft Time - post by S. J. Little

Why do I sometimes give preschoolers stickers for craft time? Am I being lazy? No. When used intentionally, stickers provide multiple benefits for preschoolers.

Benefits:

  1. Before they can effectively hold a pencil, a child needs to strengthen their fine motor muscles and hand-eye coordination.
    • Simply put, fine motor muscles are the small muscles in the hands. These muscles are used to do fine detail tasks such as holding a pencil, picking up a spoon, and putting beads on a string, among countless other tasks. When a child strengthens these muscles in their pre-writing years, they have an advantage when it comes time to learn to write. Peeling stickers and putting them on paper, exercises those fine motor muscles.
    • Hand-eye coordination is another super valuable skill for preschoolers to develop. In basic terms, it is getting one’s hand to go where one wants it to go. Activities such as feeding oneself with a spoon, writing letters, and giving high fives require good hand-eye coordination. Coordinating hands to peel the stickers and then placing the stickers where they want on the paper, are great ways to practice using hand-eye coordination.
  2. In our fast-paced world, teaching a child toStrips of stickers ready to be used by preschoolers. sit down and focus on one task for a length of time can be challenging. Stickers, I have found, can bring surprising results in this regard. Some children, though not all, are willing to sit down and work hard on peeling those stickers for longer than they would typically sit. Please don’t get me wrong with this one. Yes, we want children to be up and moving, engaged in active play, but it is also important for them to be developing their attention span. Having a longer attention span can enable them to get deeper into play rather than bouncing from one toy to the next.
  3. Most children enjoy stickers. As a teacher, I have a few children who do not enjoy craft time. Stickers might grab the interest of a child who typically dislikes crafts and help them begin to realize that sitting down to do crafts can be fun.

Tips:

  1. Cut the sheet of stickers into strips
    • Rather than handing a full sheet of stickers to a child, cut the sheet into strips. For really small stickers I find 6 or 7 stickers per strip is a good number as the paper is then big enough for the child to hold. For bigger stickers, I often cut them into groups of two or three. Giving the child only one of these strips of stickers at a time helps keep them focused and motivated as it isn’t an overwhelming number of stickers and there are fewer stickers to choose from at a time.
  2. Remove sticker blank areasPeeling back part of sticker sheet to make stickers easier for children to use.
    • I recently discovered that removing the blank areas around the actual stickers makes it far easier for little hands to peel the stickers. (See picture.)
  3. Teach children to bend the paper
    • Some children need me to teach them how to get the stickers. I show them that bending the paper causes the sticker to lift up for easy removal. (See picture.)Teach preschoolers to bend the sheet of paper to remove the sticker.
  4. Avoid “thin papery” stickers
    • Beware of thin papery stickers as they may rip easily when being peeled from the paper, making the activity difficult and discouraging for children.
  5. Mess-free craft
    • This is an excellent craft for picture day. When all my children are dressed in their finest outfits, and feeling fidgety due to the special day, stickers are my go-to. They won’t stain fancy clothes and the children are excited to use them.

What are your tips for giving preschoolers stickers for craft time? Do you see other benefits of using them?