Nancy Foster explains circle plays and gives a few words of caution in the forward of her book Let Us Form a Ring: An Acorn Hill Anthology (link is to WaldorfBooks.com; Angela Guzzo also carries the matching two CD set).
It might be helpful to mention, however, that each song or verse in a circle play should generally be repeated, at least once, and possibly more when the play is still new to the children, in order to give them a chance to enter into the music or words and gestures. Otherwise it goes by so fast that they become lost and frustrated.
It is also often a good idea to introduce the play gradually over a period of several days or a week, so that the children are not confronted with too much new material to digest at once. This is not to be done in the conscious way of "teaching" something new, as in a rehearsal; rather, the new material can be gradually incorporated into what has already become familiar. Then as new material is added, the old can be left off until the children are fully "in" the entire circle play. How this is specifically worked out by the teacher will depend, of course, on the age of the children in the group.
Finally, it should be said that these circle plays are not offered as "finished products;" I find that I keep re-working them as I learn more about this way of carrying out a circle. They are offered, rather, as working models, to encourage teachers to try them and above all to try to compose their own! The "Orchard Circle Play," which is not in the mood of the fifth, is an example of how one can use already-existing material on a theme, unifying it into a circle play by means of connecting rhymes.
We are going to use connecting themes of the animals and flowers in the meadow to gradually transition from traditional picture books and activities to a true Waldorf circle. This one is composed by Laurie Clark and found in Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures, volume 1 (volume 1 and 2 can both be found at the link provided to WaldorfBooks.com).
From there I will work on composing my own seasonal circles.
Books & Music
In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
The Snail's Spell by Joanne Ryder
Fly Like a Butterfly: Yoga for Children by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
Earthways: Simple Environmental Activities for Young Children by Carol Petrash
Spindrift by Wynstones Press
"Father Sun and the Dandelion" from Suzanne Down's book of Summer Tales
"Mother Earth and the Clover Children" from Suzanne Down's book of Summer Tales
"Sunflower Circle" from Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures: Movement Enrichment with a Therapeutic Approach for Early Childhood, volume 1 by Nancy Blanning and Laurie Clark
I plan to introduce a new routine to start our circle time each day, with two songs and a verse. I noticed when I was at the Waldorf School of St. Louis that she had more than one song or verse (usually three) to transition from each part of the day to the next. I'm thinking
"Morning is Come" song from Let Us Form a Ring CD (disk 2, track 1)
Zac's morning verse (Good morning dear earth, Good morning dear sun...)
"Oh Golden Sun" song from Let Us Form a Ring CD (disk 2, track 3)
I also want to warp my tapestry loom for our new classroom collaborative weaving for 2018-2019, which will be of a meadow. I will need to weave the header rows in dark brown for several inches of the soil before children can start to add their colors and contributions.
Again, if I get older siblings at some point along here, I have materials from Waseca Biomes which would be helpful (like the Parts of a Biome and Layers of the Soil three-part cards and Part of a Biome jars).
With older kids the book One Small Square: Backyard would also be great!
Right now my thoughts are
June 5 - Nature Walk
- introduce songs and verses to start circle time
- read In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming, look at illustrations
- talk about papermaking, tear up paper and soak it for pulp, add construction paper to regular white paper to tint it
- say verse "In our springtime garden" from page 29 of Movement for the Young Child by Estelle Bryer
- take hand lenses outside and look closely in the grass in the yard for little living things
June 6 - Handwork
- blend pulp in blender, spread into flower cookie cutters, let stand overnight on a pile of thick towels
- read Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
- sing "Bumble Bee" from Let Us Form a Ring CD (disk 1, track 45)
- do some yoga poses from Fly Like a Butterfly: Yoga for Children by Shakta Kaur Khalsa, such as Buzzing Bee (p.42), Butterfly-Cocoon (p.43), and the Tiny Seed story (pp.75-78)
June 7 - Dramatic Play
- say verse "Oh so slowly, oh so slowly" from page 68 of Spindrift
- read The Snail's Spell by Joanne Ryder
- lay down spiral tape line on the floor, walk while saying "Hand in hand, you see us well" from page 68 of Spindrift
- pretend to be exploring the meadow, dress up in play silks to be the different animals
June 8 - Sensory Play
- do "Pitter Patter" movement verse from page 98 of Movement for the Young Child by Estelle Bryer
- read dandelion poem
- sit outdoors and read "Father Sun and the Dandelion" from Suzanne Down's Summer Tales, page 54
- collect dandelions from the yard
- make dandelion chains (page 163 of Earthways by Carol Petrash)
- make naturally-dyed dandelion play dough
June 9 - Cooking
- read "Mother Earth and the Clover Children" from Suzanne Down's Summer Tales, page 56
- look at honey in honeycomb
- bake biscuits
- make butter
- have a tea party outside, look for four leaved clovers, drink some tea and eat your fresh hot biscuits with butter and clover honey!
June 10 - Art
- do yoga story "The Sunflower" from page 84 of Fly Like a Butterfly: Yoga for Children
- start "Sunflower Circle" by Laurie Clark
("Sing a song of sixpence," sunflower seeds growing on p.71; "Zoom-a-zoom-a-zee," flower/bee game, "Rock-a-Bye Baby" on p.72)
- decorate blank notecards with vegetable printing, cut celery stalks off the base and stamp the base in red paint for a rose, stamp the cut ends of the celery stalks in green paint for four leaved clovers
June 11 - Cooking
- put dried pinto bean "seed babies" into a very damp folded paper towel and place in a ziploc bag, zip shut, put in a sunny spot
- continue "Sunflower Circle" by Laurie Clark
(spider web movement activity, "Spider, spider, what are you spinning?," circle dance on p.73; "The fairy King and Queen do ride," parade with musical instruments, "Lavender's Blue" on pp.74 & 75)
- make recipe with strawberries!
June 12 - Nature Walk
- do complete "Sunflower Circle" by Laurie Clark!
- make Butterfly Crowns from page 166-167 of Earthways by Carol Petrash
- wear our beautiful Butterfly Crowns and take a nature walk
Strawberry recipes in the Summer chapter of Pumpkin Soup and Cherry Bread: A Steiner-Waldorf Kindergarten Cookbook are:
- Easy strawberry ice lollies, page 74
Kindergarten-style strawberry smoothie, page 76
Strawberry iced tea, page 76
Strawberry vinaigrette with pumpernickel, page 78
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