Want to try something that's fun and easy to do with your young child? Otto (3yrs) and I have been using Unbound Learners Circle Time and have found it to be a wonderful and enriching experience.
Otto isn't currently attending preschool. During the week he attends a Forest School session and a Playgroup. We try to loosely follow Montessori scope and sequence as I haven't found a Montessori online curriculum that suits us. We still do a ton of Montessori work and Circle Time is a nice way to start the day, it takes the pressure off me for a few minutes and it allows us to connect with others in the Montessori community.
Nina from Outbound Learners runs a Free Preschool Circle Time Monday to Friday. Each video is posted the day before (EST), so no matter your time zone it is ready for the start of the day. Nina has worked as a nanny and as a teacher in both Montessori and Reggio-inspired preschools. She is also a mum of two (16mth old and a three-year-old), so she gets it! But it is Nina's warmth, friendliness, and way with children that attracts me to her Circle Time.
Circle Time starts with calendar work including the date and day of the week, season, weather, letter of the week including a mystery letter box and a sandpaper letter, number of the week with lots of counting, ASL sign of the week, a theme-based activity and goodbye song. It is completely eco-friendly, with no new purchases required or implied, and the content is wholesome.
Let's take a look!
In some videos, we get a peek into her amazing New York homestead!
I would recommend Circle Time for children around two to five years old, younger and older children may still get a lot out of it depending on their interests and development.
I love that there is no right way to use Circle Time. You can drop in or out of it as much as you like. Sometimes Otto sits intently (with his sandpaper letter in hand) and watches it all and does all of the activities. Sometimes he runs off after five minutes and goes outside to play, there is no pressure and that is the beauty of it.
Here are a few ideas on how to use Circle Time by Nina:
There's no right way to use my FREE preschool circle times and activities on YouTube. Below you'll find 6 approaches that you might find useful. I'd love to know how you're using my circle times. Feel free to comment or DM me. Thanks!
1. You can incorporate my 12-18 minute circle times and accompanying activities into your homeschool curriculum 5 days a week.
2. You can use my circle times as a supplemental at-home educational activity on your child's off days from preschool.
3. You can use the content and activities from my videos as a guide for your own, parent-led circle times.
4. You can skip the circle time component, and focus solely on the Montessori-inpsired work tray activity.
5. If you're a preschool teacher, you can use my circle times and activities in your own classroom.
6. You can use my videos as guilt-free, educational screen time, whenever you need a short break from parenting/homeschooling
Can you believe Nina and her husband built the wooden calendar that is featured in Circle Time for around $63 (USD)?
You don't need any resources to participate in Circle Time (other than a device with an internet connection), you and your child can simply watch. Otto lovingly and enthusiastically uses his sandpapers letters with Nina, if you have sandpaper letters I recommended getting them out before the start of the session. Nina and I both use Polliwog Learning letters, which I can recommend if you need them.
The activities in Circle Time use common household products and can usually be adapted to the materials you have in your home. I love that the focus isn't on toys or anything complex, all are easy for us to do and set up and many of the activities keep Otto going back later in the day.
I hope you'll tune in with us soon. Nina tells me there are some exciting botany lessons planned for next week. I can't wait!!
Thank you so much Nina for the work that you do!
While Circle Time is completely free you can support Unbound Learners through Patreon - from $5 per month (USD) for exclusive content. You can also learn more and follow Unbound Learners on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Outschool - with classes for children from 3 to 18 years.
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