Circle Time Benefits in Therapeutic Preschool Programs | CST Academy

Circle Time Benefits in Therapeutic Preschool Programs

Circle time is a staple of preschool education, revered not only for its routine but also for its profound potential to support holistic child development. In therapeutic preschool programs, like those offered by CST Academy, circle time transcends its traditional role, becoming a critical tool in the therapeutic process for children with diverse learning needs, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This blog explores the multifaceted benefits of circle time and how it can be optimized in a therapeutic setting to enhance learning and development.

What is Circle Time?

Circle time is a guided group activity that typically occurs at the beginning or end of the school day. It involves children sitting in a circle, often with a teacher or therapist, to participate in planned activities that can include singing, storytelling, discussions, and other collaborative tasks. The structured yet flexible nature of circle time makes it an ideal setting for targeted therapeutic interventions.

Benefits of Circle Time in a Therapeutic Preschool Setting:

  1. Enhancing Social Skills: Circle time naturally fosters social interaction among peers. For children in a therapeutic preschool, this time is crucial for practicing turn-taking, understanding social cues, and developing communication skills. The inclusive environment encourages children to express themselves and listen to others, reinforcing the social norms in a supportive setting.
  2. Building Language and Communication Skills: Through songs, stories, and group discussions, circle time provides rich opportunities for language development. Children with speech delays or other communication difficulties benefit from the repetitive and rhythmic nature of circle time activities, which enhance comprehension and verbal expression.
  3. Promoting Emotional Regulation and Awareness: Therapeutic circle times often include activities geared towards emotional education, such as discussing feelings and appropriate responses to situations. This helps children with emotional and sensory sensitivities learn to identify and manage their feelings in a controlled, safe environment.
  4. Supporting Cognitive and Academic Skills: Educational themes woven into circle time activities can boost cognitive development. Activities like calendar time, weather discussions, and counting games help children grasp basic math and science concepts, fostering academic readiness.
  5. Fostering a Sense of Community and Belonging: Regular participation in circle time helps build a cohesive group identity among children. For those in therapeutic settings, this sense of belonging can be particularly therapeutic, promoting a feeling of safety and acceptance that is crucial for children with diverse learning needs.
  6. Implementing Therapeutic Strategies: For therapists, circle time provides a prime opportunity to implement and observe therapeutic strategies in a group setting. Techniques from various therapies, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), speech therapy, or occupational therapy, can be seamlessly integrated into activities to meet the specific developmental needs of the children.

Optimizing Circle Time in Therapeutic Preschool Programs

To maximize the benefits of circle time, CST Academy employs several strategies:

  • Structured yet Flexible Agenda: While maintaining a routine, flexibility is allowed to cater to the day’s specific therapeutic needs.
  • Multi-disciplinary Approach: Integrating skills from various therapies ensures that all areas of development are addressed.
  • Inclusive Activities: Activities are designed to be accessible to children with varying abilities, ensuring everyone can participate and benefit.
  • Parental Involvement: Parents are sometimes invited to join or observe circle time to understand how to extend learning and therapeutic practices at home.

Circle time is more than just a group activity; it is a vital component of therapeutic preschool programs that significantly enhances developmental outcomes for children with diverse learning needs. At CST Academy, circle time is meticulously crafted to nurture not just educational skills but also social, emotional, and cognitive development, making it a cornerstone of our therapeutic approach.

Explore the benefits of therapeutic preschool programs for your child at CST Academy. Contact us to learn more about how our specialized approach, including enhanced circle time, can help meet your child’s developmental needs and foster a thriving learning environment.

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"After almost 2 years our son’s time at CST Academy has come to an end. The preschool program has done wonders for him. Ms Jaclyn is such a warm, kind and patient teacher. She and my son’s OT (Ms. Nikki) and ST (Ms. Erika) worked together to ensure he was meeting all of his goals. The level of collaboration between all therapies shows how dedicated they are to helping your child reach their full potential. They have all made such an impact on him, it’s amazing to see the changes since he started there. He has blossomed into a strong, confident boy who is more than prepared to start his new school in a few weeks. We will always fondly remember our time at CST Academy. Can’t recommend them enough!"
"I worked with CST Academy over a period of about 10 months. They are absolutely incredible! I also referred a friend to their program and the progress his child made just blew him away! Usually, I don’t write reviews unless I feel strongly compelled one way or the other, and in this case I do! You cannot go wrong here. I would not trust my children to anyone else. Call them and see for yourself. I have seen other programs and there is just no comparison."
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