Early Years and ‘Marfa’ – grappling with the English language in Circle Time

A few weeks ago I ran a circle time for 3 year olds in an inner city Children’s Centre with early years practitioners observing.  A few of them had no English and some children had emotional difficulties.  We all sat on little chairs in a circle on a wooden surface.  Very quickly the children discovered that if they banged their feet, it made a wonderful noise.  My quiet circle-time voice, which normally praises the one child who is not banging their feet, found it hard to penetrate the whole circle banging their feet and luckily, Timmy Turtle raced out of the bag and for one magical moment, the children’s feet stopped and their eyes looked up.  Tim was hungry.  Giving Timmy something to eat was interesting as each child held out their hand and Timmy asked them “what is it you are giving me to eat” and each child said “ Marfa” I had no idea what “marfa” is and I thought it must be a language I knew nothing about.  Later, in the circle I made animal noises and asked them to guess what animals they thought they were.  When I moo-ed they guessed it was ‘marfa’.  ‘Timmy’ neighed, it was “marfa”.  Finally I bleeted but it was still “marfa”.  By now I am desperate to know what “marfa” is.  So I stopped, totally puzzled, looked at the children and said “what is marfa”?  And they all pointed to their teacher standing in the corner watching them.  It was Martha!”… The only safe happy English word any of them knew – guaranteed to please little old English me!!!


Website Editor’s Notes

As one of her training options, Jenny presents open conferences throughout the country and these open conferences have focused mainly upon Primary schools to date. However, now there is an option for staff in Early Years settings to receive free training for everyone. All you need to do is to host a conference in your local area and you invite neighbouring staff to join in with the day at a very reasonable fee for themselves. We also contribute to the marketing. So we can host a conference, you can get free training for your staff and can network and share good practice with other local practitioners.

To get in touch email circletime@jennymosley.co.uk, phone 01225 767157 or go on our website for more details.