Monday, January 21, 2013

Circle Time

A part of our new routine for this year is a morning "circle time." It is a common part of Waldorf education - whether in an institution or through homeschooling. I liked the idea of taking time each morning to connect as a family and with each person, and I knew my children would enjoy any opportunity to sing songs (which is also something I wanted to incorporate more intentionally into our day.) There is a lot of different reading and blog posts about circle time, and I am sure plenty of variation on how each person does their circle time, but here is what ours looks like and why I absolutely love this new addition to our lives:

After we've eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, and are ready for the rest of the day, we all sit in a circle on our living room rug. If David is home, he joins us. We begin with our "Good Morning Song," which is a Waldorf good morning song that I learned from a friend. It signals the start of our time. (You can hear it in this YouTube video - it's the first song. I do, however, say "bees" instead of "beasts".) We do little hand movements/sign language to go with it - which they LOVE.

Good morning dear earth,
Good morning dear sun,
Good morning to the trees and the flowers every one,
Good morning to the bees,
And the birds in the trees,
Good morning to you and good morning to me

After our opening song, I read a poem. I have been choosing one poem for the week, and we read the same poem each day for the week. Last week, it was Emily Dickinson's poem, "Out of the Morning." which I found from a selection of her poems. I will probably continue with her works, both because I like them, and because her frequent nature themes are relatable to the children and correlate with our day.

We then do open songs - whatever the boys request. They usually request the same songs every morning - Dmitri requests "The lady song" (There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...), and Damon requests "The bus song" (The Wheels on the Bus). Sometimes we will sing 4 or 5 songs, other times just two, depending on our schedule for the day. We also sing a days of the week song, and we talk about what day it is. And they look out the window and describe the weather.

After our songs, we will discuss what we have on the agenda for that day. Any errands that need to be run, if we are playing with anyone or going somewhere, or if we have no plans, listening to what Dmitri and Damon would like to do that day. It helps them to know exactly what we are doing that day, since routine is important to children this age.

We close our circle time by singing the "Good Morning Song" again, which started by Dmitri's request and has just stuck. And then we have morning hugs and snuggles, where we all give each other hugs and kisses.

And that's it. It takes no more than 5-10 minutes, but the boys absolutely love it and get so excited about it. Damon will run to our rug and sit and wait as soon as he hears the words "Circle Time". It has a big impact on how we relate to each other after the busy-ness and hustle of getting ready in the morning, and has really shifted our moods as we head towards noon and the afternoon. And it's reminded me how important it is to unplug and connect with Dmitri and Damon, indivisibly.

I am sure that our Circle Time will change and evolve, and I look forward to adding more songs to our rhythm. Right now, I am loving the opportunity to just be present.


Mama Gone Green said...

how sweet!

Jillian said...

Love, love, love it!!!

Unknown said...

hi Caroline! I've been a reader for awhile but I don't think I've ever commented before (and can't remember how I found your blog in the first place). Your table is BEAUTIFUL! I received a copy of Ana White's new book for Christmas and cannot wait until I can start building my own furniture. Just curious though-- do you guys own all your own power tools (miter saw, table saw, jig saw)? Or do you have the hardware store make cuts for you? Also, what kind of wood did you guys use for your table? Don't know how you do it all, hope you keep blogging about it!

Jam-packed Life said...

Wow! What a great idea. My son is 8 months, and I work full-time, so he's with the nanny most of the day. But I think this would be nice to incorporate into our morning routine once he's a little bit older. Thanks!