In preschool, and any classroom, it is important to get to know your students on a personal level. Including a daily sharing time in your opening circle is a great way to do that. Although the terms sharing time and show and tell are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same. Sharing time is when your preschoolers get to tell the class something about their lives. This creates a strong sense of community while also building social-emotional and communication skills. Here is what to do during your preschool sharing time.
GIVE EVERYONE A CHANCE
During your opening circle time, give each of your preschoolers a chance to share something from their lives. It can be anything from what they did over the weekend, something that they are excited about, or even something they are struggling with. You don’t have to let everyone share everyday, but letting the whole group share at least once a week is nice. Then, the rest of the week you could just pick a few children to share each day.
When preschoolers feel safe and know that they can share absolutely anything with you, they will. Most of the time this will probably be fun things, but you will have times when your preschoolers share something upsetting.
RESPECT WHAT IS SHARED
For the most part, preschoolers are excited for sharing time and may have a difficult time waiting their turn. There will be times though when a child does not feel like sharing, and that is okay. Other times, they may want to share but not know what to say.
When asked to share what they did the night before or over the weekend they may respond with, “Nothing”. To them, there was nothing significant. Respect that and move on. Your preschoolers have to know that they will not be forced to share. This will help them feel more comfortable with sharing when they do have something that they feel is worth sharing.
ALLOW FOR QUESTIONS
When your preschoolers share bits of their lives with the class there are bound to be questions. Let each child answer a few questions about what they shared. This is a great way to encourage your preschoolers to engage and invest in conversations.
Giving your preschoolers the opportunity to ask questions also gives you the chance to teach about question words. Sometimes, preschoolers will say they have a question but then make a statement. Take this time to teach your preschoolers about question words.
It is important that you open up with your preschoolers, too! Show them that it is a safe place to share by sharing your own personal life with them a bit. It doesn’t always have to be fun and exciting things either. If you are sad because your cat is missing, share it with them. This will not only give them ideas of the types of things to share, but will also help build trust with your preschoolers, which will help them open up during sharing time as well.
Your preschool sharing time is a very important part of the daily routine. It is a way to bring the class together and feel connected. Having your sharing time during the opening circle truly sets a tone of connection and kindness for the rest of the day.