Enhancing Circle Time for the Very Young: Activities for 3 to 7 Year Olds to Do before, During and after Circle Time


Margaret Collins

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    I acknowledge permission by Cancer Research UK (formerly Cancer Research Campaign) to include the original research of children's perceptions of keeping safe in the sun.

    My thanks to:

    Noreen Wetton and colleagues at the Health Education Unit of the Research & Graduate School of Education, University of Southampton who are an inspiration.

    George Robinson who helped with suggestions to expand my original ideas for this book.

  • Emotional Literacy Skills

    Children aged 3 to 7 are learning about and practising the skills of:

    • understanding the importance of fairness for all
    • knowing the difference between good and bad, right and wrong
    • being able to recognise and make safe choices
    • understanding the need for rules
    • knowing how to behave in various situations
    • becoming aware of different groups, communities and cultures
    • understanding the importance of respecting their own and other people's property
    • recognising that boys and girls can both do the same tasks
    • recognising the difference between accidental and purposeful hurting
    • beginning to understand what trust and reliability mean.
    • listening to others
    • sharing personal thoughts and feelings asking and responding to questions asking for and giving permission taking part in discussions.
    • collaborating and working co-operatively
    • co-operating in work and play sharing, taking turns.
    • being able to put themselves in someone else's place
    • understanding the roles of others
    • identifying feelings of others
    • understanding that other people have needs and being sensitive to these needs
    • being able to value other people's achievements
    • respecting other people's needs, feelings and opinions.
    Environmental Issues
    • caring for plants and animals
    • recognising the importance of keeping the environment safe and their role in this
    • valuing natural resources and knowing that they are limited.
    • selecting vocabulary to express feelings
    • developing and using vocabulary to describe feelings
    • identifying feelings by developing appropriate vocabulary
    • owning and reflecting upon feelings
    • managing feelings and talking about the feelings of others
    • dealing positively with own and others' feelings
    • know that their behaviour affects others.
    Keeping Safe
    • knowing that they need food, exercise and rest
    • maintaining personal hygiene
    • recognising risks to safety of selves and others
    • knowing that there are places and people that are safe and where to get help
    • knowing how to say ‘no’ when things are not right
    • knowing how to ask for help from adults
    • following simple safety rules and instructions
    • knowing when to keep a secret and when to tell.
    • reflecting on own behaviours
    • reflecting on outcomes of own and others' actions.
    • being able to make new friends and cope with losing friends
    • recognising the value of friends and of being a good friend
    • sharing friends
    • recognising that friendships can change
    • knowing their special people, their special roles and responsibilities
    • beginning to accept everyone as an individual – unique and special
    • recognising that their choices and behaviour affect others
    • knowing what bullying is and what to do about it.
    • recognising what responsibility means
    • performing simple tasks independently
    • taking some responsibility for self and others in school/family
    • knowing what is important when making choices
    • caring for pets
    • making informed choices.
    • feeling good about themselves and proud of achievements
    • knowing what they are good at
    • wanting to do well
    • recognising their own positive qualities
    • making the most of opportunities and talents
    • persevering and overcoming difficulties
    • being able to accept that they may make mistakes and learn by them
    • setting simple targets for themselves
    • becoming increasingly confident with new people and situations
    • being confident when expressing opinions
    • recognising their likes and dislikes.


    Collins, M. (1995) Keeping Safe – safety education for young children, Forbes Publications LtdLondon.
    Collins, M. (1997) Keep Yourself Safe – an activity based resource for primary schools, Lucky Duck Publishing Ltd, Bristol.
    Collins, M. (1998) Let's get it Right for Nursery Children, Forbes Publications Ltd, London.
    Collins, M., McWhirter, J. & Wetton, N. (1998) Researching Nursery Children's Awareness of the Need for Sun Protection: Towards a new methodology. Health Education Vol.98, Iss 4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09654289810219240
    Collins, M. (2001) Because We're Worth It, Lucky Duck Publishing Ltd, Bristol.
    Collins, M. (2001) Circle Time for the Very Young, Lucky Duck Publishing Ltd, Bristol.
    DfEE (2001) Promoting Children's Mental Health within Early Years and School Settings,
    Hunter, J., Phillips, S. & Wetton, N. (1998) Hand in Hand – Emotional Development through Literature, Progressive Printing Ltd.
    Milicic, Neva (1994) It's good to be different – stories from the Circle, Lucky Duck Publishing Ltd, Bristol.
    Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (1999) The National Curriculum Handbook –for primary schools.
    Robinson, G. & Maines, B. (1995) Celebrations, Lucky Duck Publishing Ltd, Bristol.
    Wetton, N. & Collins, M. (1998) Ourselves Resource Pack (Watch), BBC Educational Publishing, London.
    Wetton, N. & Collins, M. (1999) Birth, Care and Growth Resource Pack (Watch), London, BBC Educational Publishing.
    White, M. (1999) Picture This – Guided Imagery (CD and booklet), Lucky Duck Publishing Ltd, Bristol.
    http://www.wiredforhealth.gov.uk provides information for delivery of health education in schools http://www.dfes.gov.uk/a-z/CITIZENSHIPhtml

    About the Author

    Margaret Collins is a teacher and former headteacher in infant/first schools. She is now Visiting Fellow, Research and Graduate School of Education at the University of Southampton. She researches children's perceptions of health education topics, writes and co-writes teaching materials for children and books and articles on health education.

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