Three keys to successful circle time activities for special needs children are to make the activities multisensory experiences, multilevel instructional and enriched with multiple opportunities to learn, according to the Community Integration Project. Special needs encompass a wide range of abilities, from mental to emotional to physical. Plan activities for circle time to satisfy the needs of every child.
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Ask the children to close their eyes and listen. If it is raining, they may hear the rain and describe the sound. They might hear nothing on a sunny day, or they could hear music or other sounds from another room. Ask students to open their eyes and describe what they see outside. They might describe sun or clouds or rain. Assign two students to check the weather by placing their hands out the window, if it is safe to do so. Ask what they feel on their skin. This activity taps into many different senses.
Show and Tell
This activity helps prepare children for times when the teacher takes a multilevel instructional approach. Ask the children to bring an item from home to share. When a child is sharing, ask specific questions about the object, according to the child's comfort level. This activity gives ownership of the activity to the child; meanwhile, learning social skills through sharing the toy is guided by the child. You might need to ask a shy child leading questions, whereas you might aid an outgoing child in helping others take turns with the favourite object.
The Name Game
Children need to experience multiple opportunities to learn, which involves using repetition to enhance learning. Play the name game to encourage socialisation and assist children with repetitive learning. Arrange children in a circle and give one of them a ball. That student names another child and rolls the ball to her. After option: Have the child with the ball identify a positive quality of the student to whom he rolls the ball.
Cooperative Construction Projects
These project types provide students with multiple opportunities to learn, multisensory experiences and multilevel instruction. In this case, students must work together to create a project with blocks. The children practice cooperation, teamwork, listening and considering others through this activity. Students grasp objects, listen to others and watch others build, thereby having multisensory experiences. Finally, children can bring unique ideas to the project or attempt to contribute in their own unique ways, which provide multiple opportunities for special needs children to learn.
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