In my last post I defined circle time and described how it promotes holistic learning. Today I want to write about how to do kindergarten circle time at home. Think of circle time as a fun drama adventure that you take with your children. You are using songs, poetry, gesture, movement, drama, and games to express a seasonal story. The circle itself tells a story that mirrors what the children are taking in with all their senses when you are outside in nature.
How to do Circle Time in Kindergarten
If you decide to make circle time part of your kindergarten homeschool, start by choosing a written circle from a resource you enjoy or gather songs and verses that are tied together by a seasonal theme, an upcoming festival, or the story that you are telling. Also choose a gathering song/verse (or try this one) and closing song/verse. Decide when circle time will fit into your rhythm. If you are just starting out, I recommend that you repeat the same circle 3 days a week for 3-4 weeks. A circle can repeat for a long time in kindergarten (as long as an entire season, with a few fresh songs mixed in over time), but my experience is that you can stretch it out much longer in a school setting than at home. Over time you will find the rhythm that works for you and your children. In the Lavender’s Blue Kindergarten curriculum I designed the circle to evolve slowly over the course of the entire year so that you only need to learn one song or verse each week and it remains engaging for everyone.
A great circle has its own rhythm, its own in-breath and out-breath. It starts and ends with the same verses probably for the whole year or more. The middle parts are balanced with big active energetic movements and smaller hand movements. Play with gesture, with dancing freely, and with more controlled movements such as taking three hops to the left, clapping, walking or skipping in rhythm with your song or nursery rhyme. Use your body to mimic a flower, a bee, the rain, a frog on a lily pad. You can use props like silks, ribbon rings, bells, shakers, or rhythm sticks. Play with your voice, loud, soft, whispering. Include some quieter moments, sitting to sing a soft song, fingerplays, lying down to rest and breathe for a moment of stillness. Most of all, just sing and have fun together!
Resources for Kindergarten Circle Time
Here are some of my favorite resources for complete circle times.