This article came from our friends at My Gym, a chain of children’s fitness centers dedicated to making fitness fun! They offer classes for everyone from babies up to tweens, and our local parents can check out locations in Boston, Newton, Framingham, Norwell, and much more – find your nearest location here. Naturally, with this kind of mission, child development knowhow is an important part of what they do, and in this article, you’ll learn about why circle time is so central to their classes (and millions of classes for small children all over the world).
Structured active play is one of the most important ways that young children learn, and Circle Time offers countless opportunities for learning, even for the youngest babies. Below is a list of benefits associated with successful and consistent Circle Time participation.
- Socialization: Participation during Circle Time helps children learn to interact with adults and children outside of the home. The children learn about themselves as they relate to the teacher, the parent, and other young members.
- Listening Skills: Paying attention to their peers and the teacher while in the circle helps the children develop listening skills as well as respect for both the teacher and their peers. Their having to sit briefly during Circle Time helps children understand boundaries. Learning about structure, limits, and rules at an early age is healthy for youngsters.
- Readiness for School: Children learn to take turns during Circle Time as well as develop patience and an understanding of time – tools they will need as they grow, especially in school. Circle Time also expands awareness of physical, sensory, and language experiences through exposure to new songs, dances, various materials, and other stimuli.
- Fine and Gross Motor Skills: Participating in the songs helps promote rhythm, coordination, counting, and dexterity as well as singing. Dancing helps with gross motor skills. (e.g., turning and jumping) An added plus is that it is also a fun form of exercise!
- Parent Modeling and Bonding: When parents participate in classes, there are additional benefits: because children do what parents do in the circle, their enjoyment is increased. Circle Time offers parents an excellent opportunity to set a proper example and help their children enjoy the experience with their own enthusiastic participation. As children and parents play and have fun together, parent-child bonding is intensified. The new songs they learn together provide them with something fun to do at home as well.