ERIC Number: ED251243
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Group Time in Early Childhood Centers: An Exploratory Study.
To investigate the current status of group time in early childhood centers, a small-scale exploratory study was designed and executed. Results of interviews with 35 teachers and observations in five classrooms serving children ages 2 1/2 through kindergarten revealed that all classrooms had at least one group time or circle time, usually in the morning. Of 14 broad categories of resources noted by teachers, books and stories, and music and songs were most frequently mentioned; poetry, nursery rhymes, and relaxation activities were least frequently mentioned. Teachers' written plans and observations revealed the actual use of a much narrower range of activities. Immediate concerns, such as "themes" and children's interests and needs, were primary determinants of what teachers did. Detailed written plans were seldom made. Teachers reported that their major problems involved disturbances of group time by students and balancing the needs of the individual child with those of the group. Teachers ascribed such problems to factors beyond their control; these included children's developmental level, home backgound, and group size. Observation revealed much inattention during group time, with teachers using relatively few techniques for monitoring, maintaining, and guiding children's attention and behavior. Implications for teacher educators, administrators, and teachers are discussed. Teachers are urged to take an active classroom leadership role by: (1) planning more systematically; (2) using group time to introduce new ideas and skills and develop positive attitudes and behavior; (3) expand their repertoire of materials and activities; (4) enlarge their techniques of monitoring and guiding behavior; and (5) coaching other adults in the classroom how to behave during group time. Measures used are appended. (Author/RH)
Descriptors: Child Caregivers, Classroom Environment, Classroom Observation Techniques, Classroom Research, Day Care, Early Childhood Education, Grouping (Instructional Purposes), Instructional Development, Interviews, Kindergarten, Learning Activities, Preschool Curriculum, Preschool Teachers, Student Behavior, Teacher Behavior, Teacher Role
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (Los Angeles, CA, November 8-11, 1984).