Part I of a Stone House morning ended with lavender foot baths (on muddy days!) and hand washing. The children are beckoned to circle time with a song. In Waldorf Education, there are no abrupt transitions. You would never hear: “Put away the blocks (or workbooks!) it’s time for circle!” Rudolph Steiner understood children to live in their bodies, not in their heads, so we begin the motion of circle time first, which the children respond to, and join in: “Let us form a ring, dancing as we sing”. The opening song is not always the same, “Let us make a circle like a circle like the sun…” Circle time begins. I love to sing with the children. The little ones have a repertoire of simple, more familiar songs: Eensy Weensy Spider, ABC’s, Here’s a Ball, This is How You Make a Balloon. The older children have more complex rhymes and songs. The circle time verses and rhymes are often about nature and animals. In Waldorf Education, circle time is centered around seasonal themes. Yet, here in the Virgin Islands having what I think of as two seasons, the words will often be changed to reflect our island, so that we are not always singing about apple trees and snow. An example is Tall Tall Tree: This is my trunk, I’m a tall tall tree, in September the raindrops fall on me, They fall, they fall
This is my trunk, I’m a tall tall tree, in December the breezes blow through me, I bend, I bendThis is my trunk, I’m a tall tall tree, in April the blossoms bloom on me, They open, they open, This is my trunk, I’m a tall tall tree, in August the mangoes fall from me
They drop, they drop
And sometimes the songs are just silly and fun:
When I was one, I ate a bun the day I went to sea, I jumped aboard a sailing ship and the captain said to me…”
After Circle Time, the children wash their hands (again), and sit down at the table for snack. With everyone holding hands, we sing a blessing song before we eat together:
Blessings on the blossom, Blessings on the root
Blessings on the leaf and stem, blessings on the fruit
Children learn table etiquette while sharing a wholesome snack. They learn to wait their turn to talk if someone else is talking. They
are reminded to say please, thank you, please pass… It is also a time where conversation is not dominated by the teacher, but instead the children are given the space to converse among each other.
When the children finish their snack, they ask to be excused from the table. Then the children get their place settings ready for lunch: placemat, napkin, fork, plate, cup. Now we’re ready for some robust outdoor play!