Our Group Time Mat
If you’re familiar with my Instagram Page, you will know that I am a lover of creating beautiful spaces in the classroom using quality resources and materials. Out of all of the learning spaces in my classroom, nothing can beat our group time area featuring our Chindi Rug. The kids and I call it “the rainbow mat” and it adds so much colour and warmth to our classroom.
Group Time Routine
Group time is a time we come together to learn, discuss, teach and share. At group time, we gather on our Chindi Rug and engage in group learning together. In my kindergarten classroom, we usually have three group times a day; in the morning, before lunch and before going outside in the afternoon. In the morning, children are invited to present their letter/sound of the week show and share items. Each week, they are invited to bring in items from home that correspond with the letter of the week. This is followed by a story, explanation for the intentional teaching activities for the day, days of the week song and marking the roll. We use our interactive TV to mark the roll and children develop their ICT skills and name recognition skills as they come and mark their names as present.
Before lunch time, we gather as a group again to read a story. We usually read a book that has been brought in by a student or a book that is related to our current project or interests. Our last group time is before we go outside to play. We apply our sunscreen, read a book, do the Jolly Phonics program and sometimes watch an audio book or informational video online.
Why is group time important?
Group time is an important part of our day in kindergarten and offers various opportunities for learning and developing important skills:
- Gaining confidence: Children are allowed to express feelings and ideas to a group without judgment. Children have the opportunity to gain confidence as they speak in front of their peers.
- Routine and Planning: Children love routine and know exactly when it’s time for group time. By planning out the intentional activities for the day and setting expectations, children are able to navigate through their day and predict the routine. I find that setting expectations for each activity promotes positive behaviour and respect for resources.
- A sense of community: At group time the children feel a sense of belonging as they collaborate and discuss. They learn that each child is a valued member of the group as they are provided with opportunities to hear their voices and opinions heard.
- Opportunities for deep learning: During group time, we often delve deeper into our interests and projects which offers opportunities for learning new skills, ideas and concepts.
- School readiness: Most of the children in my class are heading off to ‘big school’ next year so there is an important element of school readiness. Group time allows children to get ready for learning in a setting which is familiar to school. They build up important skills such as ‘whole body listening’, increased concentration and active listening skills.
Our Group Time Mat
Our Chindi Rug is perfect for group time as it’s big enough for all of us to fit and we often gather in a circle. It is 2 metres in diameter and the perfect size for our class — not too big and not too small. I have 25 children in my class every day so it’s important that we have a mat where we can all fit. I don’t know if you’re familiar with asking 25 children to make a circle, but it’s A LOT easier when you can just say “make a circle around the mat” — otherwise history has shown me that you might end up with a star, not a circle! ;-)
Our Chindi Rug has the most beautiful mixture of colours, which is obviously why we have nicknamed it “the rainbow mat”. It is made from recycled fabrics which are 100% cotton. Our rainbow mat makes our whole room look more brighter and welcoming and highlights other colours around the room.
Why Recycled Mats?
I am a big fan of Recycled Mats because of their sustainable and ethical commitments. Sustainability is at the forefront of early childhood education so these rugs are perfect for the eco-conscious classroom. Did you know that our Chindi rug is actually handmade in India from recycled cotton? The fact that these rugs are made using recycled fabric offcuts makes my sustainable-loving-heart warm!
Not only are recycled materials used, the Chindi rugs from Recycled Mats are ethically produced, benefiting communities and the planet by making something new and exciting from discarded cotton. The Chindi rug range is produced using fabric offcuts from clothing or furniture manufacturers. Cloth pieces are distributed to families in regional India, who supplement their regular income by weaving long chindi ropes from the materials. These ropes are then wound and woven to create soft, durable mats.
If you are a lover of rainbow mats like me check out the Chindi Rug here
Please note this blog post contains affiliate links. I was gifted a Chindi Rug in exchange for social media posts and blog posts. I did not receive payment for this post. I will only accept gifted items, sponsored posts and collaboration opportunities for items and businesses that I would genuinely use in my day to day life as a kindergarten teacher. Maintaining an honest and open relationship with my readers is of utmost importance to me and therefore all opinions in this blog are personal opinions and 100% authentic.