Circle time: New Year around the world

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By Karen Hartfreelance writer

Use circle time to explore a world of New Year celebrations

Children holding hands around globe

Image © nem4a/

The informal nature of circle time makes it an excellent setting for covering Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL). Circle time is an opportunity to discuss experiences, past, present and even future, so what better time to do this than at the start of a brand new year? The following activities are designed to prompt group discussion. What route the discussion takes and where it ends, you’ll have to find out for yourself!

1. The Chinese New Year

Children are often fascinated that the Chinese New Year does not start on 1 January (the next one starts on 14 February 2010), and intrigued by the fact that everyone has an astrological animal defining the year they were born. Read out some of the characteristics of these animals during a circle-time session (characteristics can be found on various websites). Do the children recognise any of their own animal’s characteristics in themselves? Obviously, there will not be a wide variety of animals represented in one class, so you could include the teachers and teaching assistants – can the class guess which animals the adults are?

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  1. Nicky Madden
    on 11 January 2010

    Great- thank you

    Just what I was looking for! thank you

    4out of 5