Supporting Discussions at Circle Time

Circle Time is filled with language and literacy. The Circle Time routine encourages children to listen, talk, and share. It provides opportunities for the educator to model communication skills.  Also, it encourages the development of social skills through providing daily, structured social interactions. Support discussion at Circle Time when interacting with the calendar, with a discussion of the Daily Topic, and during storytime.

The Importance of Verbal Exchanges

Opportunities for talking and communication are when children can have conversations with children or when adults can have conversations with children in preschool. These conversations do not need to be long. The goal is for children to exchange their ideas, feelings, and beliefs with you or their peers and practice communication. 

Verbal exchanges are important for a child’s language development. To develop language and conversation skills, children need many daily opportunities to talk with teachers and peers. It’s important that we not only speak to children and introduce them to new vocabulary and ideas, but we must also have back-and-forth conversations. Circle Time is an opportunity to talk WITH children, not AT children. READ: Build Community with Circle Time

Open Ended Questions

Open-ended questions let children take time to exchange what they are thinking. If a child is delayed in communication, they can still be asked open-ended questions. You may pause for a few seconds then guess the answer. “What does your family do outside?” [Pause] “Go to the park? Go on bike rides?” The child may say, “The park.” 

Their minds are still processing and learning the information they are taking in. It does have an impact but requires patience. 

If a child is skilled in language, you may have them ask a friend an open-ended question. “Jenny, ask Kate what she did yesterday.” Open-ended questions are good conversation starters.

How to Support Discussions at Circle Time

Experience Preschool curriculum provides many opportunities for children to speak at Circle Time. Incorporate back and forth conversations during these times:


Encourage children to share with teachers and friends upcoming plans or recent classroom explorations to help them with expressing themselves and acknowledging interests. Speak about tonight, tomorrow, this weekend and holidays. Ask the children what their favorite part of their weekend was, how they spent a holiday or where they are going on vacation.  READ: Tips for Using the Calendar During Circle Time


Each day, the Conversation Poster introduces a new daily topic and a coordinating open-ended question to engage children and build knowledge.

Example: Show the Conversation Poster and ask, “What does your family enjoy doing together?” 

Invite children to talk about what their families do and write down their responses on a large sheet of paper.


Invite the children to participate in making choices such as Which book do you want to read?”

Then show the cover of the book and ask, “What do you think will happen in our story?”  During the story, ask children what they think will happen next, how they think the character feels or why a character made a certain choice.

After the story, ask the children to answer questions about what was read. Ask what their favorite part of the story was or what surprised them.

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