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Circle Time for Emotional Literacy

Circle Time for Emotional Literacy

  • Sue Roffey - Honorary Associate Professor at University College London and the Universities of Exeter and Western Sydney

160 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

'This is a wonderfully lucid account of what needs to happen if Circle Time sessions are to promote the emotional literacy of children and young people.'
James Park, Director of Antidote

Emotional literacy is an important issue in schools and an essential part of a positive and successful school environment.

Circle Time and the principles on which it is based provide a powerful framework for developing the social, emotional and behavioral skills that are the foundation for emotionally literate relationships.

Offering lots of new ideas and activities to try out in Circle Time, this book covers:

  • A working definition of emotional literacy
  • The theoretical foundations and underlying philosophy of Circle Time
  • What Circle Time can do for your students and for your school including promoting resilience and reducing bullying
  • Many reflective and fun ways to address a wide range of social and emotional skills and the supportive context necessary for their development
  • How to maximize the success of Circle Time in your class
  • Ways to address common problems that can occur

The activities promote listening and attention skills, raise self-awareness and self-esteem and focus on class cohesion, empathy, co-operation and a sense of belonging.

Setting the Scene
The Circle Time Framework and Getting Circle Time Going in your Class
The Basics
Circle Time Activities to Promote Communication
Self-awareness and Self-esteem
Emotional Knowledge: Understanding and Managing Feelings
Feelings of Belonging: Tuning into Others
Friendship and Cooperation
Challenges and Solutions
Useful Resources

'The author has written a thought-provoking book, which is so apt for today's children in modern societies...this book would be beneficial to every member in the teaching profession, and recommend it wholeheartedly'
-Ameeta D'Souza, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

'This is a text colleagues will want to recommend to school staff through our consulatation and collaborative working to supplement agreed actions, and to suggest as follow-up reading, provide further practical ideas and advice for implementing Circle Time activities. Teachers will find this an accessible and clearly structured handbook' -

'Like most teachers each summer I aim to read at least one professional self-improvement book. It's often a struggle because the last thing I really want to do when I collapse exhausted at the end of the academic year is to reflect on how to improve my performance as a teacher. The books I read are always worthy, often stimulating, but rarely have much practical impact when I get back into the classroom harness. "Circle Time for Emotional Literacy" is different. I read it in August and not a week has gone by since when I have not re-visited it.

'Sue Roffey is a teacher and every word is written with busy practising teachers in mind. I have used her book to teach citizenship to a Y7 class who now think citizenship is all about having fun and playing games. I have seen a difficult class begin to interact with increasing confidence. Quiet students have begun to assert themselves and the loud ones seem far less dominant. All now accept that they can be paired with and work with any other member of the group. Personal and social development is taking place within a supportive class atmosphere. And the wonder for me is that lessons take only minutes to prepare through picking and mixing from the book's huge menu of games and activities.

'Next term we are going to tackle democracy; and from the starting point of the students already experiencing it, I expect it to be a doddle' - Amazon review

'This book provides a wonderfully lucid account of what needs to happen if Circle Time sessions are to promote emotional literacy of children and young people...exceptionally well written...a user-friendly resource...invaluable to any teacher interested in starting or promoting Circle Time...I would strongle recommend it as a school resource. It would also be a useful addition to an EPS Service library.' Meryl Chetwood, Educational Psychologist

Sue Roffey

Previously a teacher and educational psychologist, Sue Roffey is currently adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Western Sydney and Honorary Lecturer at University College London. She is a prolific author, international educational consultant and speaker on issues related to pro-social behaviour, belonging, resilience and positive relationships within education.  She is the founder and director of Wellbeing Australia ( and now lives between Sydney and London.  Sue can be contacted through and More About Author