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Circle time revisited: How do preschool classrooms use this part of the day?

Circle time is a near universally used preschool activity; however, little research has explored its nature, content, and quality. This study examined activity types, teacher and child talk, child engagement, and classroom quality in a sample of public preschool classrooms in an urban, high-poverty school district. Results demonstrated that teacher talk was twice as prevalent as child talk, and there was a lack of back-and-forth exchanges and open-ended questions. Quality of instruction was low on all dimensions of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, and child engagement dropped to low levels in about 40% of classrooms. Finally, classroom quality predicted child-to-teacher talk ratio and child engagement. Evidence calls into question the richness and quality of circle time and suggests that even modest improvements in quality and an increased focus on child participation could ensure that educators are not squandering valuable learning time and depleting children's behavioral self-regulation during the first activity of the day. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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