Monday, July 23, 2018

We'll just skip circle time today.

This morning, I thought the kids and I would go outside a little extra early, enjoy the nice cool weather, do the art project I had planned in the beautiful outdoors.

However, each time I asked the children if they were ready for circle time, which is what we do before heading outside for snack and outdoor play, they said no.

It was clear that they were really enjoying their indoor play time. With each other. With our stuff.  The vibe of our small class size in the summer.

I asked again at 9:45 whether they were ready to finish up inside and move on to circle time.  I asked at 9:50. I asked at 10. I asked at 10:15. They repeatedly said no.  It became clear they were not motivated to do anything except to continue the play themes they had spent the whole morning constructing.

I wanted to honor their play. That's why I asked to do circle rather than telling them. Usually, I say "It's time for circle". Today, I asked "Do you want to clean up for circle tiem?".   They just seemed so invested in their play, and what was it to me, whether we stuck to the schedule or not?

Finally at around 10:45, I started getting antsy. If we have circle too late, snack is too late, children get hangry, the whole systems fails. So I thought, hm, they can sacrifice circle time if they want. I'll just have an extra social snack time so we can all feel seen and heard and connected. That's the point of circle time, anyway.

I was sure they would skip circle time in lieu of extra play time. And, I'm not going to say my feelings weren't a little hurt that they didn't care about "my" circle time, which I consider fun and something that elicits loads of motivation and participation and excitement.  I started doubting myself. Maybe I've lost my teaching mojo and my circle times are no longer fun or interesting. Maybe I've lost that magic of creating a circle time that induces a sense of wholeness to the individual and the group and builds up our little community members. Maybe I've lost my touch.  My circle time used to be so outrageous and spontaneous and fun. I guess it's turned hum drum and they would just rather free play all day.

So I offered them a circle time alternative. I announced this to the group:

"If you would rather play an extra three minutes than have circle time, I'm willing to let you do that. But if you take the extra time to play, no circle, because we have to have snack soon."

That's when I heard the murmurs. "What? No circle?" "Then when will circle time be?" "What did Stephanie say?"
Mass confusion ensued until one spokesperson said "Okay, we'll take circle time". They promptly began putting toys away.

Why did they take the circle time option? My ego tells me it's because I'm fun and know how to make that time engaging for kids and I'm this old experienced teacher who just know how it's done.  My more logical brain tells me that its because even tho they loved the make believe play that was happening, they are still children, and children need to feel the sense of routine, and they want to come together for this special group time to be seen and heard and acknowledged.

I'm honored to be a part of this.  So deeply honored.

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