Social and Emotional Learning in Circle Time: A comprehensive curriculum for primary schools

RRP - $193.00   Our Price - $149.95  Ring Bound (inc CD)
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Jackie Lown, Samantha Dunderdale, Poppy Nash

Social and Emotional Learning in Circle Time
489 pages
Age Range: 5 to 11
ISBN: 9781906517236

Social and Emotional Learning in Circle Time has been written to support schools in helping to teach children social and emotional skills such as recognising and handling emotions, how to get along with one another, feel appropriately confident in themselves, and know how to think about (and respond to) challenges in their lives.

These materials provide 10 sessions per term of circle time of between 45 and 60 minutes. Most of the circle time sessions follow the same format, with a few exceptions where content requires a different delivery. Detailed guidance is also included on how to run effective circle time sessions.

Most sessions follow the same format which is as follows: 

  • Learning intentions - written in ‘child-friendly’ language, to enable the children to quickly engage with the focus of the session to come
  • Circle time agreements - a set of agreements decided by children for children to be adhered to every session.
  • Introductions - this denotes the starting point of the session. Introducing ones-self, or one another, is affirming for each individual, and is an important part of the session.
  • Mixer - many children will choose to sit with their friends when circle time begins so by using a mixing game early in the session the children will be more likely to be sitting next to someone less familiar than their friends, in readiness for pair work.
  • Silent statements - 'silent statements' do not require children to speak and can act as an introduction to the focus of the topic for the session.
  • Sentence completion - this enables children to focus a response for themselves, while hearing others’ views and practising speaking and listening skills.
  • Pair discussion - this is used regularly because it is an excellent way to give children the confidence to discuss issues in a pair, when they might not feel able to do so in a large group.
  • Physical games - for some children, sitting and talking for a long time means that they start to lose focus, and may become fidgety. Physical movement can serve to refocus children to the next activity by providing a break.
  • Self-esteem builder - the sessions for each year group carry some form of self-esteem builder (usually individually) and these are very important aspects of the circle time sessions.
  • Closure activity - included as a plenary and as a way to denote the end of circle time, whilst reflecting on the coverage of the session.

At all times, Social and Emotional Learning in Circle Time will: 

  • Ensure continuity in approach – it provides a curriculum that builds year on year, giving structure and consistency for teachers and pupils
  • Provide a holistic and well-coordinated personal, social and emotional educational experience for children within the primary years
  • Deliver clear learning intentions – so that these connections are easily seen and included in curriculum planning throughout the school.

Each session is:

  • Clearly written and easily understandable
  • Easy to deliver, without additional preparation time
  • Self-sufficient – the need for additional materials is minimal, with many included in the appendices
  • Practical, age-appropriate and enjoyable for children and adults.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Linked SEAL Activities?

The Linked SEAL Activities referred to in each session are the free SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) resources developed by the UK Dept of Education (then DfES). You can register on the UK SEAL website and download all of the resources from there ( or you can download most/all of them more directly from another UK site at: