Skip to main content

Circle Time: An Exploratory Study of Activities and Challenging Behavior in Head Start Classrooms

Abstract

The purpose of this descriptive study was to examine circle time activities in eight Head Start classrooms. A total of 7 h of observations occurred in eight classrooms. Songs and academic activities were the most frequently occurring activities. Challenging behavior during circle time also was examined. The three activities with the highest frequency of challenging behavior were roll call, discussion, and calendar routines. Limitations of the study along with implications for research and practice are presented.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Beneke, S., Ostrosky, M. M., & Katz, L. (2008). Calendar time for young children: Good intentions gone awry. Young Children, 63, 12–16.

    Google Scholar 

  • Collins, E. N., & McGaha, C. G. (2002). Create rewarding circle times by working with toddlers, and not against them. Childhood Education, 78, 194–199.

    Google Scholar 

  • Del’Homme, M. A., Sinclair, E., & Kasari, C. (1994). Preschool children with behavioral problems: Observation in instructional and free play contexts. Behavioral Disorders, 19, 221–232.

    Google Scholar 

  • Denac, O. (2008). A case study of preschool children’s musical interests at home and at school. Early Childhood Education Journal, 35, 439–444.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dodge, D. T., & Colker, L. J. (1992). The creative curriculum for early childhood (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Teaching Strategies, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Doll, B., & Elliot, S. N. (1994). Research methods representativeness of observed preschool social behaviors: How many data is enough? Journal of Early Intervention, 18, 227–238.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fox, L., Dunlap, G., Hemmeter, M. L., Joseph, G., & Strain, P. (2003). The teaching pyramid: A model for supporting social emotional competence and preventing challenging behavior in young children. Young Exceptional Children, 58, 48–52.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gibson, S., & Dembo, M. (1984). Teacher efficacy: A construct validation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 569–582.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gilliam, W. S., & Zigler, E. F. (2001). A critical meta-analysis of all impact evaluations of state-funded preschools from 1977 to 1998: Implications for policy, service delivery and program evaluation. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15, 441–473.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gould, P., & Sullivan, J. (1999). Inclusive early childhood classroom: Easy ways to adapt learning centers for all children. Beltsville, MD: Gryphon House.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harden, B. J., Winslow, M. B., Kendziora, K. T., Shahinfar, A., Rubin, K. H., Fox, N. A., et al. (2000). Externalizing problems in Head Start children: An ecological exploration. Early Education & Development, 11, 357–385.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harms, T., & Clifford, R. M. (1980). Early childhood environment rating scale. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heward, W. L., Courson, F. H., & Narayan, J. S. (1989). Using choral responding to increase active student responding during group instruction. Teaching Exceptional Children, 21, 72–75.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hudson, S. J. (2000). Using circle time to teach the social curriculum: Teaching strategies. Journal of Early Education and Family Review, 7, 29–32.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hyson, M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Rescorla, L. (1990). The classroom practices inventory: An observation instrument based on NAEYC’s guidelines for developmentally appropriate practices for 4- and 5-year-old children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 5, 475–494.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kantor, P., Elgas, P. M., & Fernie, D. E. (1989). First the look and then the sound: Creating conversations at circle time. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 4, 228–433.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kazdin, A. E. (2001). Behavior modification in applied settings (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keenan, K., Shaw, D. S., Walsh, B., Delliquadri, E., & Giovannelli, J. (1997). DSM-III-R disorders in preschool children from low-income families. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 620–627.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Macy, M. G., & Bricker, D. D. (2007). Embedding individualized social goals into routine activities in inclusive early childhood classrooms. Early Child Development and Care, 177, 107–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Qi, C. H., & Kaiser, A. P. (2004). Problem behaviors of low-income children with language delays: An observation study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 595–609.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Qi, C. H., Kaiser, A. P., & Milan, S. (2006). Children’s behavior during teacher-directed and child-directed activities in Head Start. Journal of Early Intervention, 28, 97–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Quesenberry, A. C., Hemmeter, M. L., & Ostrosky, M. M. (2010). Addressing challenging behaviors in Head Start: A closer look at program policies and procedures. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. doi:10.1177/0271121410371985.

    Google Scholar 

  • Register, D. (2001). The effects of an early intervention music curriculum on prereading/writing. Journal of Music Therapy, 38, 239–248.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reich, L. R. (1994). Circle time in preschool: An analysis of educational praxis. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 2, 51–59.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sandall, S. R., Hemmeter, M. L., Smith, B. J., & McLean, M. E. (2005). DEC recommended practices: A comprehensive guide. Longmont, CO: Sopris West.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, B. J., & Fox, L. (2003). Systems of service delivery: A synthesis of evidence relevant to young children at risk of or who have challenging behavior. Tampa, FL: University of South Florida, Center for Evidence-Based Practice: Young Children with Challenging Behavior. Retrieved from http://www.challengingbehavior.org/explore/publications_docs/systems_of_service.pdf.

  • Standley, J., & Hughes, J. (1997). Evaluation of an early intervention music curriculum for enhancing prereading/writing skills. Music Therapy Perspectives, 15, 79–85.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stowe, R. M., Arnold, D. H., & Ortiz, C. (2000). Gender differences in the relationship of language development to disruptive behavior and peer relationships in preschoolers. Journal of Applied Development Psychology, 20, 521–536.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Strain, P. S., & Joseph, G. E. (2004). Engaged supervision to support recommended practices for young children with challenging behavior. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 24, 39–50.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (1997). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: A comparison of child and parent training interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 93–109.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (1998). Conduct and level of social competence in Head Start children: Prevalence, pervasiveness, and associated risk factors. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 1, 101–124.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wiltz, N. W., & Klein, E. L. (2001). “What do you do in child care?”: Children’s perceptions of high and low quality classrooms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 16, 209–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yoshikawa, H., & Zigler, E. (2000). Mental health in Head Start: New directions for the twenty-first century. Early Education and Development, 11, 247–264.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgment

This manuscript was made possible by grant number 90YD0119 from the Office of Head Start and Child Care Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views or policies of the funding agency, nor does publication in any way constitute an endorsement by the funding agency.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hasan Y. Zaghlawan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zaghlawan, H.Y., Ostrosky, M.M. Circle Time: An Exploratory Study of Activities and Challenging Behavior in Head Start Classrooms. Early Childhood Educ J 38, 439–448 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-010-0431-z

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-010-0431-z

Keywords

  • Challenging behavior
  • Head Start
  • Circle time