Circle Time is a special feature of the Waldorf kindergarten. What is Circle Time or Ring Time? Why is it offered in the Waldorf kindergarten? What are the most important aspects of the Circle?
What is Circle Time in the Waldorf kindergarten?
Circle Time is a powerful tool for supporting the young child’s development in which the adults take the children on an imaginary journey. Using songs, verses, sayings, movements, gestures, and facial expressions, the children participate fully in the round dance. Circle Time is a thematic description in song, poem, or story form and accompanied by movements and gestures.
The themes are based on the season, annual festivals, or the work of humans. Activities such as planting, harvesting, baking, and washing are presented. Events in the plant and animal kingdoms are personified. Even the weather can be a theme. Circle time themes are presented as a guided element over a period of three to four weeks, usually in the morning. Numerous circle dances have been created by Waldorf teachers, but it is best for a teacher to adapt the circle movement and themes to themselves and the group of children in their classroom at a given time.
Why is Circle Time offered in the Waldorf kindergarten?
Important features of the Waldorf kindergarten are the principle of “role model and imitation” and the rhythm of everyday life. Both can be found in Circle Time. The children imitate the movements of the adults, completely immersed in language and movement. The children are not instructed how to do the movements or even to do them. The teacher’s example is simply imitated out of the children’s will.
With its songs and verses, Circle Time promotes the children’s rhythmic and musical sensitivity and has a unifying effect. By experiencing the processes of nature, the children can also immerse themselves in the grand course of the year. The children come to understand rhythms in nature, plants and animals, festivals, and other themes.
Circle Time provides examples for children’s play
Children are consistently flooded with images, sounds, and items that are outside of their imaginations and that can overtake their developing capacity for imaginative play. The thoughtful movements of the teacher during circle time are combined with songs and poems in such a way that the children must create their own internal images to fully engage.
An essential element of Circle Time in the Waldorf Kindergarten is the representation of human work. Children see and imitate the actions of work they may not see in their everyday lives. They learn that they can play fisherman, farmer, or shoemaker.
The 5 most important aspects of the Circle
- Stimulating the imagination of children
- Promotion of language skills
- Training of gross and fine motor skills
- Stimulating the rhythmic-musical feeling
- Spatial orientation
There are many opportunities for growth
A real experience and work in nature, accompanied by sayings and songs is a sustainable and authentic existence for children. There are opportunities for working with breath, moving fast, and being still, all part of the rhythm of living. Large movements like hopping and small movements like hand gestures are opportunities for motor development.
Speech development is supported in Circle Time. Children imitate and repeat clear, enunciated speaking and the rhythm of language. Coordinated movement leads to articulated speech.
Circle Time is a living experience for teachers and children. Truly engaging in the present moment and interacting in a loving and soft manner helps children add their imaginations to the circle time experience and then to apply the undercurrent of learning to the rest of their day and their lives. It is a powerful element of the Waldorf Kindergarten.