I change our circle times (and Main Lesson Blocks) by the Moon Cycle. The below is what we have been using since last week. Some of the verses are repeated from the last circle time (indeed, some feature in every circle time for a while), some are expanded upon, others are old favourites and still more are completely new:
Come to the circle where dreams are found,
Take my hand and we’ll dance around.
Round and round and round we go.
Hello, hello, hello and hello.
Good morning dear Earth and good morning dear Sun.
Good morning dear stones and dear flowers everyone.
Good morning dear beasts and dear birds in the tree.
Good morning to you and good morning to me.
(this is sung – I’d be happy to record a .wav if it’s helpful)
In small green cup an acorn grew,
On tall and stately oak.
The spreading leaves the secret knew
And hid it like a cloak.
The breezes rocked it tenderly,
The sunbeams whispered low,
“Someday the smallest acorn here,
Will make an oak, you know.”
The little acorn heard it all,
And thought it quite a joke;
How could he dream an acorn small
Would ever be an oak?
He laughed so much, that presently
He tumbled from his cup,
And rolled a long way from the tree,
Where no-one picked him up.
Close by him was a rabbit hole,
And when the wind blew high,
Down went the acorn with a roll,
For weeks in gloom to lie.
But one bright day a shoot of green
Broke from his body dry,
And pushed its way with longing keen
To see the glorious sky.
It grew and grew, with all its might
As weeks and months rolled on:
The sunbeam’s words were proving right,
For, ere a year had gone,
The shoot became a sturdy plant,
While now the country folk
Can sit beneath the spreading leaves
Of a mighty forest oak.
(The Acorn – Anon)
(This is also sung with some actions)
Yellow the bracken,
Golden the sheaves,
Rosy the apples,
Crimson the leaves,
Mist on the hillside,
Clouds grey and white,
Autumn, good morning!
Summer, good night!
(sung to the tune of “Rock-a-bye Baby”)
Ten little squirrels (finger play – I already have this written down on the blog from the last circle time)
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came –
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
(George Cooper, “October’s Party”)
John had great big waterproof boots on.
John had a great big waterproof hat.
John had a great big waterproof mackintosh
And that, said John, is that!
On Monday I will LEAP up high,
Then STAND and STRETCH UP to the sky.
On Tuesday I will CROUCH down low,
Then like a flower SLOWLY GROW.
Until on Wednesday, I’m so TALL,
That I can CLIMB right up the wall.
On Thursday I will SKIP around,
Then slowly CURL UP on the ground.
On Friday I will BEND MY KNEES,
Then GALLOP off among the trees.
On Saturday I’m going to HOP
Then SPIN AROUND just like a top.
On Sunday, I will NOD my head –
A day of rest, it’s often said.
One step to the LEFT I readily take,
And one to the RIGHT I also make.
A step to the FRONT I take with great speed:
To step to the BACK more courage I need.
My arms I stretch UP high from the ground,
And make a half circle by SWINGING them round.
A straight line I make from hand to hand,
Then DOWN to the ground where I do stand.
We then do various maths ‘games’ – including singing, clapping or hopping out times tables. Sometimes we’ll use percussion instruments too.
Open them, close them
Stretch them in the air.
Open them, close them,
Place them on your hair.
Open them, close them,
Give a little clap.
Open them, close them,
Place them on your lap.
We then move to be seated and on to the main lesson content of the day.
An owl sat alone
(Hold up one finger)
On the branch of a tree.
He was as quiet
(Hold finger to lips)
As quiet could be.
It was night
And his eyes were round like this.
(Make circles over eyes with thumbs and index fingers)
And when he looked around
Not a thing did he miss.
(Look from side to side)
I’ve been using this fingerplay to transition to the story of the day.
I have to admit, Circle Time is one thing I really wish I had more of a talent for – I’ve seen some beautifully written ones (although for Kindergarten) that follow a far better integrated theme than mine, telling a story woven through the verses – they really are works of art! But I stick with verses and songs I know that my children will enjoy, including a few that get them moving and dancing around (although we also move around during the maths portion of the Circle Time.)
Nin also does daily written maths practice, reading (typically a short poem), art and craft. She is currently knitting a bag, that will be knitted and then felted.
Music has been a little sporadic as really I want her to learn to play a Choroi flute, but till they can be afforded (as I will also need one), I’m a little concerned that recorder-playing will confuse her if we go with the Choroi-fingered flute.
Of course there is so much else, from baking, to gardening, to the very many stories she writes outside of ‘lesson time’.
I really should write something more of what Ted gets up to. That will have to wait for a later blog post.