Schools have closed down, our whole family is schooling/working from home, and we are scrambling to find a new normal. Squeezing in our own work into the day, my husband and I are trying to establish a daily rhythm for our 8-year-old daughter that is (at least somewhat) in line with the Waldorf school that she attends. Part of this rhythm is Circle Time — a morning ritual comprised of songs, verses, and movement designed to move the child gently into the day.
What is Circle Time?
Circle time is not unique to Waldorf education and is popular among preschools and early elementary classes. Done at the beginning of the school day, children sit in a circle and engage in music, movement, and poetry. Circle time promotes community among the children and incorporates the arts into their daily activities.
For families schooling at home, Circle Time can serve a similar purpose: foster family togetherness and serve as a gentle ritual to transition them from family time into their school day.
What does Circle Time look like?
A simple Waldorf-inspired family Circle Time might include:
1. A gathering song. Sing a simple morning song to kick off the day. Check out Sarah Baldwin’s “Good Morning” song as a lovely example:
2. The lighting of a candle. They don’t incorporate this into Sofia’s Circle Time at school (because, you know, fire), but this is a lovely item to include in your family ritual.
3. Songs. My daughter’s Waldorf school generally sings songs relating to the seasons. This connects children to the annual rhythms of nature. Ideally they should incorporate some gentle movement too. Here’s a sweet song welcoming Spring that your family could try:
4. Verses. My daughter’s school includes two or three verses during Circle Time. Here is one of my favorites that they recite:
May my feet rest firmly on the ground.
May my head touch the sky.
May I see clearly.
May I have the capacity to listen.
May my hands be free to touch.
May my words be true.
May my heart and mind be open.
May my hands be empty to fill the need.
May my arms be open to others.
May my gifts be revealed to me
so that I may return that which has been given,
completing the great circle.
5. Extinguishing the candle. Finally, blow out your candle. You’re ready to start the school day!
I am Tina, the Creative Director in the Story Box family. Here I am with my 8-year-old niblet. 😉