Article – The structure of Circle Time


At Orana Playgroup, Circle Time is one of the most important parts of the morning. Some things are fixed so the children know what to expect and some things change so the children and parents can learn new songs.


Let’s make a circle like the circle of the sun
Let’s make a ring that includes everyone
Good morning to the sun up in the sky  (arms open to sun)
Good morning to the birds as they fly on by  (arms at side futtering)
Good morning to the trees so straight and tall  (arms above head, straight and tall, palms together)
Good morning to the nests where the possums do rest  (hands cupped against chest at heart level)
Good morning everyone!  (outstretch arms)
I nod my head
I clap my hands
And then I stamp my feet
I reach up high
And bend down low
Then I take a seat


Open, shut them  (open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Lay them in your lap
Creep them, creep them (creep hands slowly up body)
Creep them, creep them
Right up to your chin  (hands on chin)
Open wide your little mouth
But do not let them in  (hands behind back)
Shake them, shake them,  (shake hands)
Shake them, shake them
Shake them, just like this
Roll them, roll them  (roll hands)
Roll them, roll them
Blow a little kiss


Click here for a list of the Songs we sing at playgroup.

This list was updated on the 18th December 2013. Come back at the end of January 2014 for a more current version.

We sing a lot of Play School songs at playgroup. Play School is an Australian institution. It is a half-hour television show which has been running twice per day since 1966. It is estimated that 80% of Australian children under the age of 6 years watches Play School at least once per week. Singing Play School songs at playgroup reinforces the children’s learning of the songs they hear at home.

I prefer that we use our voices. I have never used recorded music or used instruments like guitars during Circle Time. Yes, sometimes I forget the tunes. Sometimes we muss up the words. That’s life – perfectly imperfect. We always have a laugh. By using only our voices, the children become so confident in their singing. Frequently they want to sing a song on their own in front of the group. They never say “I can’t sing”. If you have a voice you can sing.

The children choose the songs that they want to sing. They love this, even the little ones. Circle Time is always fresh, relevant (to the children) and spontaneous this way.


Head, shoulders, knees & toes
Knees & Toes
Knees & Toes
Head, shoulders, knees & toes
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Head, shoulders, knees & toes

A tensing, stretching, and relaxing exercise


Sometimes the same story is read for three weeks. This allows the children to become very familiar with it. By the third week the children feel comfy about acting out some parts of the story or talking about it in more depth. This expands their experience and awareness of language, story, rhyme, and knowledge, by relating what they are hearing, seeing, and feeling to what they already know. It’s amazing what young children can achieve when things are approached in a playful and emotionally safe way.

At other times, we will focus on one author for the whole term (about 10 weeks), reading a different story each week.

Or sometimes, we will read story books on one particular topic. One term we focused all of our art, craft, songs and story on the topic of trees. Another term we did bears.

I almost always use a technique called ‘interactive text reading”‘. In the USA, it’s called ‘text talk’. If you are interested, you can download an article on text talk here Article – text talk.

You can read posts about some of the books we have read at playgroup and the children’s responses to them at


to the tune of  “Here we go ‘round the mulberry bush”

Here we go around the Orana RoomOrana Room, Orana Room
Here we go around the Orana Room
Every Monday Morning
This is the way we play with our friends
Play with our friends, play with our friends
This is the way we play with our friends
Every Monday morning
Here we go around the Orana Room
Orana Room, Orana Room
Here we go around the Orana Room
Playgroup now is over

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