This is a post out of the 31 Days of Morning Circles. You can find the main page for this series here.
Since many of the activities I shared in this series thus far are aimed at neurodivergent or disabled children, I wanted to address the possibility of including other children, such as siblings, friends, or class/group mates.
Extending the morning circle
I suggest using this gathering to prepare children to become responsible for their learning—both daily and lifelong learning. Use it to strengthen communication, reasoning, decision-making, and problem-solving skills along with academic skills.
- Opening Activities
- If songs don’t appeal to the children, use a poem, meditation, or inspirational song lyrics they select themselves. You can also include a daily joke or a statement of gratitude or appreciation.
- Share a few pages of a chapter book for the story. You read a part, and they read a part. Vary the texts to include relevant newspaper or magazine articles as well as poetry, short stories, and picture books.
- Instead of daily weather, work with a daily and weekly schedule. What’s happening today? What order do the children want to approach the activities? What do they suggest for later in the week? Etc.
- Main Activities
- Work on short but relevant academic skills that don’t require much set-up or clean-up. Think flashcards or game cards.
- Model how to play a board game.
- Talk about issues that the children are presently struggling with. Perhaps it’s a difficult medical appointment. Ask: “How did you feel about yesterday’s appointment?” Maybe it was an argument with a sibling. Ask: “How can we resolve this kind of problem in the future without being physical?” Or world issues (see the resource below for discussion starters). Or, maybe it was being left out of a birthday party in the neighborhood. Ask: “How did learning that you weren’t invited to Jason’s party make you feel? What should we do about it? Do you want to talk with him or just let it go? What else can you do?” Caution: Always use trauma-informed practices.
- Have the children raise issues they want to discuss or skills they want to practice.
- Closing Activity
- End the circle by setting an intention for the day. For instance, “Today, I will work on being patient.”
- If applicable, end with a prayer and a few moments of silence.
How can you extend the morning circle?
Resource for Extension Activities
- A Kids Book About – (Affiliate link) Kids books designed to start a conversation about life’s most important stuff like racism, disability, mental health, money, and so much more!