Circle Activities Directly Impact Learning
We can all agree that learning is optimized when it takes place within the context of a secure, trusting environment. CAT scans show that children process information through their emotions first, and that which is most emotionally relevant to them is most readily learned. Play has an important role in early childhood learning. It is essential, and includes key building blocks to learning…movement and emotional relevance. Circle activities as practiced at The Lighthouse School feel like play to children, however, these activities specifically stimulate areas of the brain and body associated with learning. In addition, many literacy and math skills are embedded within the activities.
Learning first comes to human beings via our senses. Consider the infant reaching, crawling, and putting objects in their mouths. These initial sensory patterns become our reference points, and give us the context for later learning. When we sing, move, touch another person, clap, and tap, we are activating our sensory organs—creating a relevant context for stored knowledge. Also, with each new activity we learn, we are essentially creating more neural pathways and strengthening our cognitive capacity.
During Circle Time, children learn a song or verse, and practice it multiple times over before a new song or verse is introduced. This repetition leads to myelination, a multilayered covering of the nerve cell. The more myelin, the faster the transmission of data among the nerve cells. Thicker myelin coating is associated with larger brains, and better ability to coordinate rapid perceptual data. If repetition is embedded within a playful activity with emotional relevance, then learning is maximized.
Music and movement stimulate the temporal lobe and other parts of the brain. Rhythm has a calming and organizing effect. Circle activities take place first thing in the morning, and are also sometimes used as transitional activities to energize and help students remain alert to teaching throughout the day.
If you have more questions, please see your child’s teacher. If you like, schedule a time to come observe Circle Time to see first hand the dynamic learning that takes place.