Skip to content
Bilingual Classroom Strategies The Calendar: Repeating or Rethinking in Bilingual Circle Time?

The Calendar: Repeating or Rethinking in Bilingual Circle Time?

The calendar is a staple in bilingual circle time. Every day, it’s there: kids recite the days, mark the past day, or maybe draw something about the day (like a paintbrush for art class). But what’s the real goal of this routine?

Bilingual Calendar Circle Time

Think about it: across five years of Early Childhood Education (ECE), children might repeat the days of the week a whopping 1000 times (assuming 200 school days/year). Do we really need 1000 repetitions to learn seven words? More importantly, if you ask a child “What day is it today?” in the middle of playtime, do they know the answer? Even better, do they truly understand what “today” means?

The calendar helps us understand time. But if your students can’t tell the difference between yesterday and tomorrow (“Tomorrow I went to grandma’s” – a classic ECE sentence!), then relying on the calendar for time concepts might not be the best approach.

So, Trash the Calendar? No Way!

The calendar holds immense potential for meaningful learning in ECE, but it requires planning and a clear goal. Here’s a suggested calendar approach by age group:

Up to 2 Years: Forget the calendar! But if your school insists, use the basic grid. Mention the day’s name, highlight special events, and visually mark the days with fun stuff – photos, activity symbols, or snack pictures. Focus on building the idea that each square represents a day. Highlight the “end of day” during goodbyes to solidify the routine.

3-Year-Old Group: Time for regularity! Consider using a color-coded calendar with consistent symbols for events throughout the week (music note for Wednesday music day). This builds the foundation for understanding weekly routines. Later, move to a linear calendar where weeks are stacked chronologically.

4-Year-Old Group: Now the calendar becomes a planner and record. Since children grasp the basic structure, consider using it to discuss the future and past, incorporating concepts like “before/after,” “how long ago,” and “how many days until.” Introduce months and yearly events. Encourage children to participate in making calendar notes at the start of each month and revisit them weekly. Displaying consecutive calendar sheets visually reinforces the passage of time.

5-Year-Old Group: By now, children understand how the calendar relates to both immediate and distant time (daily events vs. birthdays). They can name days and months. Consider using the calendar for planning, retelling past events, and integrating mathematical and literacy concepts in both languages.

NewsLetter Blog EBNewsLetter Blog EB

This approach moves away from rote memorization and emphasizes using the calendar as a tool for richer learning experiences.

Transform Your Circle Time!

This suggested calendar approach can transform your circle time routine! For a fresh perspective on circle time and classroom routines, explore our online courses – click the link below!

Explore Early Learning Courses!