Preparing for Circle Time in a Parent-Child Program By Regin Dervaes

I started working on the autumn circle in July that I would do with the adults and children in my program. I copied the lyrics in a journal, writing them down in the order I wanted to bring them to the children, taking into consideration transitions into the next song, and allowances for large movement and moments of quiet pause. I practiced the circle for weeks–in the car, in the house, even humming at the grocery store. I felt confident in the words, notes and movement of my circle, but could I lead a group of families as well as the children?

My first parent-child session was being held at a local church, and I had a large area with a kitchen, plenty of room to move and a door leading outside. It was a perfect space that allowed me to bring my toys and furniture in for the children and families.

Wanting plenty of time to prepare for our first day together, I arrived two hours early with my van full of furniture, toys, balls of yarn and baskets of dried seeds and stones. As I unpacked and felt the nervousness arise, I started to sing.

I rearranged the chairs and tables – singing.

I tidied up the baskets of silk – singing.

I set up the wooden blocks and puzzles – singing.

I started the porridge for snack – singing.

I set the table, bowls and spoons- singing.

Taking a deep centering breath with a gentle reminder why I started this journey, I tied my apron strings and welcomed my first family.

Our morning playtime fell into place easily, with children discovering new places, toys and friends.  As I watched our time progress, paying more attention to the rhythm of play rather than the clock, I noticed a slow dwindling begin and knew this was the perfect pause to introduce circle.  One last deep breathe, and with a smile and a clear voice, I started singing: “Let us form a ring…”

Regin Dervaes attended the LifeWays training in Asheville, NC and now lives and works in Palmer, Alaska.  She is also helping to bring the LifeWays Training to Alaska this fall.