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Streaming Circle Time on Social Media

Hi, my name is Natasha Murphy and I am an early year’s educator and the manager of Portobello Institute’s pre-school. Like everyone, I am struggling to keep normality in these extraordinary times due to Covid-19. I am worried about the children and families I work with everyday and how they are coping. I want to help them in any small way I can.


Working in Partnership with Parents

I know working in partnership with parents is central to our early years setting. The parents I have been in contact with over the past week are worried about their children being in isolation and the impact these times will have on their children’s development. Parents are the child’s primary educators and this is really to the fore during these times. I was really wondering how can I help them to continue their child’s learning in the home at this time?


Streaming pre-school activities on Instagram & Facebook 

To keep myself and my class working together, I have set up an Instagram and Facebook page where I post daily activities which may be of use to you and your families. 

So far, I have shared baking activities, arts and crafts ideas, healthy eating, some practical life exercises, St. Patricks Day activities and Mother’s Day crafts and songs. 

Over the past week, I have delivered my circle times live on Instagram for parents, practitioners and children to join in. The circle time activities involve a story book, songs, counting, day of the week, music and movement and a general discussion on a chosen topic. The topic links to the children’s interests, for example, animals, transport, the hospital etc. I can’t believe how successful such a simple idea has been. The children are digital natives – this is nothing new to them but it is so wonderful to see how excited they are each day!


Re-introduce some routine

I understand how hard it is for parents during this difficult and stressful time, especially those who are trying to work from home while children are off preschool/school. I am delighted to be able to relieve some of their stress, give them some time whilst they are comfortable knowing their child is engaged in a learning activity. We all know how important routine is for children so I am doing this at the same time twice a week. Parents can plan around this, children can anticipate it and I hope it also helps re-introduce some routine for their children.


Helping other Early Years Practitioners

I am really hopeful this will be useful for other practitioners. Social media can be such a useful tool and by sharing what I am doing, I hope others will be able to start similar activities with the children in their settings. This is such a difficult time for everyone and this is one of the ways I can contribute best to help others…



What will be the theme of future posts?

Future posts will involve exercises, yoga, revising of hand-washing – this will involve experiments and song, more practical life exercises, online resources, the list goes on! 

The parents and children have really enjoyed it so far and have sent me e-mails and messages through our social media including photographs of their child working with the activities I shared. 

Stay safe. Let’s bring positivity and joy to this situation. 


Join us -  Links to our Instagram & Facebook 

 Instagram link - 

 Facebook link - 


Circle time plan Instagram Live

Monday 23rd March 2020 at 10am


An Outline of the Planned Activity

-Welcome everybody

-Brief introduction on how I am

-Sing Hello Song 

-What day is it today?

-Sing days of the week song

-Revise hand-washing and song 

-Discuss topic (I can put up a poll on instagram for parents/children/practitioners to vote on what topic they would like to discuss for the next day)

-Story time (another poll put up prior to circle time for votes on what story they would like to hear)

-Music and movement if needed or else save this for the next circle time

-Goodbye Song

-Day and Time I will be back on again for another live circle time

I hope this helps in some small way, some of the other early years practiioners out there who were like me, struggling to find away to help and wanting to do something. I would just like to thank Portobello Institute and the early years team there. I did not just receive a qualification, I received so much more. They have encouraged me so much to put into action any of the ideas I have. I firmly believe it is my degree and their support that has given me the confidence to share these idea’s through social media.  


I am so excited that over 150 past and current students of Portobello joined Circle Time this morning - the comments have been so generous and I am planning the next session for Friday, 27th March at 10am.


BA (Ord) Early Childhood Studies

Working in Partnership with partners is one of the themes covered throughout the modules on the BA (Ord) Early Chioldhood Studies. This course is delivered by blended learning with 9 one day workshops held on a Saturday and a module tutor assigned to each tutor for one to one support throughout the course. The next course commences on 23rd May with substantial discounts available to early years practitioners at this time. Click here to go to the course page and see below further information on discounts and contacting us.



BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies

This programme is the next step on the academic journey of an early years practitioner. Students complete a research project by carrying out a systematic investigation of a topic related to the early years sector. The project provides students with opportunities to improve their critical thinking and research skills. The next level 8 BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies commences on 16th June or again in October 2020. Click here to visit the webpage for this programme and see below further information on discounts and contacting us.



MA Early Childhood Studies

Portobello Institute is delighted to offer professional early syears practitioners the oppotunity to gain a level 9 Masters in Early Childhood Studies by blended learning. This masters programme commences this October and is now enrolling. Click here to visit the webpage and see below further information on discounts and contacting us.


Discounts available on all programmes & Contacting Us

We appreciate the difficult circumstances the early years sector is facing with forced closure. There are substantial discounts available on all programmes commencing this year. We are working remotely so please ring Jenny on 018920031 or email her



About the author

Natasha Murphy is the manager of the Portobello Pre-school. This is a small pre-school in the inner city with as many as 25 nationalities among the 32 children in attendance. Natasha started her career as a Montessori teacher an undertook the BA (Ord) in Early Childhood Studies by blended learning with Portobello whilst continuing to work full-time. She continued her studies to the level 8 last year. Natasha was promoted to the role of manager as a result of her absolute dedication to the children and families she works with. Natasha constantly seeks opportunities to innovate and develop her practice and she is the epitome of a professional early years practitioner. Natasha has developed links with the local primary school and implemented a very successful transition programme with the school for children progressing from Portobello’s pre-school to their primary school. We are very proud to share Natasha’s story across our website and social media and hope early years practitioners as inspired by her as we are!

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