Waldorf 101: Circle Time

Circle Time is absolutely the heart of the Waldorf Kindergarten in a Waldorf school setting.  At home, it sometimes is successful and sometimes not.  Many families have increased success with just choosing verses that go with transitions of the day, such as verses to accompany brushing of teeth, getting dressed, etc or verses and fingerplays that go along with things in nature that one can pull out on nature walks and during outside time.

One thing that I would encourage is doing a lot of singing in the presence of your children – singing whilst you do dishes or cook for example.  This, to me, is something that happens outside of the regular Circle Time or verses and fingerplays.

If one wants to try to put together a Circle Time,  remember  it can be difficult with only one child!  However, here are some suggestions:

1.  Circle Times usually are held for a whole month (or sometimes even longer with elements that are added or taken away).  A Circle almost always reflects the season, but can also include elements of festivals or can include a story as told in a Circle Time.

2.  Within a Circle one usually considers slow and fast movements, quiet and loud, gross motor movements versus movement of just the hands, balance.

3.  A Circle can include elements of counting in rhyme and movement.

4.  The Circle is typically so well-known by the end of the month that the child can say parts of it with you!

Here are some on-line examples of active circles:

This is noted as more of a “movement journey” rather than a strict Circle Time with indications for children with certain challenges:  http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW55blanning2.pdf

A Summer Circle:  http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/gw4615.pdf

A Winter Movement Journey:  http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW5004.pdf

When I do a Circle Time within my home, I either use a “pre-made” Circle out of “Let Us Form A Ring” or “Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures.”  Sometimes I do make up my own Circle Times, but I also can read music, which is a huge help in putting together Circle Times.  The Wynstones Books have been a large help to me in that regard, but again, the songs will not mean much if one cannot read music!  Your voice is the most wonderful thing for Circle Time, some teachers also bring in pentatonic flute or kinderlyre for part of the Circle.

Sometimes I find the Circle Times that I have put together myself are the biggest success because they speak so to my children.  You could make a circle about knights for Michaelmas and the month of September, an insect circle for Summer or whatever speaks most to your child.  One thing I would like to try is to write my own circle from scratch; I think that would be a fun adventure to pick a theme and write verses and music for my pennywhistle to go with it!

Hope that helps answer some questions regarding Circle Time.

Peace,

Carrie

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3 thoughts on “Waldorf 101: Circle Time

  1. Hi Carrie,

    Edie looooves circle time and I need to solidify a concrete time to do it. I find that I tend to put it on the ‘B’ list of things to do after story, activity, chore, walk, but maybe I should move it back up to the ‘A’.

    I don’t read music (I could if I had a piano in front of me but I don’t) and my children love hearing the two songs Mama knows. I make up songs but she kind of gives me this funny look when that happens. I was wondering what you could recommend in that case – how to learn new songs?

    congratulations again on your new babe. Mine is almost one now – how I miss those early months already! :)

  2. My problem with circle time is that when I first do one with new songs at the beginning of the month, my four year old loves it and participates in singing with me… for about three days. then it is like she’s bored with the songs. She won’t sing them anymore, or she will sing all goofy, with made up words, or with rhyming nonsense words, or with her fingers in her mouth, etc. She memorizes things really quickly and then it’s “old news” to her. I don’t know how to get her interested again except to introduce new songs each week, and I just don’t want to do that!

    One day we did circle time while our homeschooling friends were over – they have kids ages 5, 4, 3, and 1 – and my daughter sang the songs and did all the motions to all the songs… guess she wanted to show her friends what to do, but when they aren’t around, she won’t do it!

    • How many days a week are you doing Circle Time? I would say three days a week would be sufficient at home, and each week you could add a song that goes ona theme. She may also like a Circle TIme that represents a whole story to tell, there are many examples in “Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures” available through Bob and Nancy’s Bookshop http://www.waldorfbooks.org.
      She sounds like she likes to be the leader! Maybe she could show her little sister how to do it!
      And of course, whilst Circle Time is the heart of the Waldorf Kindy at school, many times at home it just flops and it is easier to incorporate some fingerplays or verses during Nature Walks,e tc…
      Love,
      Carrie

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