A Journey of Movement, Verse & Song
Each morning at circle time, the teacher leads the children on a journey of movement, verse, and song. The theme of the circle reflects the seasons of the year. For instance, in the fall the circle might be about galloping ponies to the orchard to pick apples; in winter it might be about woodcutters hiking through snow and chopping firewood; in spring, caterpillars transforming into butterflies.
Building Vocabulary & Language Skills
The theme and activities of each circle are enjoyed daily for two to four weeks. Through this repetition, the children gradually learn all the verses and songs (building their memory and vocabulary skills), as well as the movements and gestures. This enriches the children's language experience and allows them to engage their forces of fantasy while inwardly creating mental images of apple orchards, snow covered forests, and a many other enchanting images.
Songs in the interval of the fifth are often used: these are simple pentatonic melodies with no major or minor keys, which allow the children to sing at their own developmental level.
Spacial Awareness & Coordination
In circle, the children imitate the gestures and movements of the teacher. Spatial awareness is enhanced through larger movements in the three planes: up and down, front and back, and side-to-side. Through movement and singing of traditional songs and the recitation of rhythmical verses, the forces of expansion and contraction are worked with from the fine motor (grasping and releasing), to the gross motor (going out and coming in).
The loco-motor movements of running, skipping, hopping, jumping, leaping, sliding, and walking are artistically implemented into each circle. The teacher also works with activities that encourage horizontal and vertical midline crossing, spatial awareness, and establishment of hand dominance, as well as sensory integration of the following systems: proprioceptive (self movement, self-awareness), vestibular (balance), tactile (touch), and somatic (mind-body connection) sense of life.
This play of singing, verse, rhyme, and movement is the children's work. It also allows the teachers to observe potential challenges that might need remediation before the children move to the next developmental level -- the second seven years.
The school has a trained Eurythmy teacher who visits each class once a week at circle time and leads the children in a Eurythmy circle in place of the pre-kindergarten/kindergarten teacher's circle. The Eurythmy circle is similar in that it consists of movement and gestures, combined with song, verse and story.