Monday, February 14, 2011

Circle Time for Me

Circle Time
Having taught and worked in public schools for 30 years, I've spent a lot of time in the classroom. For the past 15 years, most of that time spent in early childhood classroom settings, both as teacher and consultant. Being a "teacher of teachers" I found myself often sharing the advice, "ground your preschooler's day with some sort of opening activity. Do it everyday. Be consistent. Have a routine. A daily Circle Time is a good start."

Sound advice for a preschool classroom. But what about for the rest of us? Those of us who haven't seen the backside of another kid's head for a lot of years? Do we (still) need Circle Time?

Before I answer that, let me share some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head lately. The first is about work. For the past year I've been working from home. If you've ever worked from home, you know what that means--you never leave your job. I have found myself working 18 hour days because I stumble to the computer early, coffee cup in hand, and often work straight through with a few breaks until midnight or later. Okay, so that's normal when you start up a new business. It requires 24/7 care and feeding. So be it. But now it's time to change.

Because of this habit, thought number two has been rattling around. I don't read any more--for pleasure, that is. Just for the sheer enjoyment of sitting down in my overstuffed armchair and reading. And, I'm not getting enough exercise. Plus, my house is in an ever present state of "needing to be cleaned."

In short, working too much, not paying as much attention to things that must be done. In reality, I think this all might stem to the fact that for the past year, I've been trying to adjust to a new routine. For 31 years I had a routine. Get up. Shower. Coffee. Work. Home. Write or Relax. Then do it again tomorrow. Now my routine is just random and haphazard. Which was okay. For a while. But...

Um. Where is the grounding to my day. The consistency? The routine. This is IT?

Couple all of the above with a study I read that said for the first hour of your day, you should avoid the electronics. The static noise. The news. So, no TV. No radio. No computer. The first hour of the morning should be to slowly wake your brain, become aware, and center yourself for the day.

Ah. Now I get it. I need a Circle Time.

So, I thought about that. Circle Time for preschoolers often involves singing, listening to a book, basics like counting and practicing letters, and sometimes some movement. I can do this, I think. Lately, I have devised, and have been faithfully practicing, my daily Circle Time routine for one. It goes something like this:

1. The first rule: No TV, radio, computer, etc., for the first hour after I wake.
2. Make coffee, say good morning to the Muse-Cats, and feed them. (the basics)
3. Empty the dishwasher, which starts my stretching. Do my morning stretches while waiting for coffee. I hum a little tune while I do it. A little movement, a little singing.
4. Meditation. About 15 minutes worth, although I do not time myself. It just happens.
5. Reading. Whatever I want, for about another 15-20 minutes.
6. Writing. To round out the hour.

Today, this blog is my writing. Welcome to my Circle Time.

What's your routine first thing in the morning. Could it use an overhaul? Do you need to ground your day in a morning routine(ritual?), too? What might it look like?

Next, I'll work on some sort of routine that involves exercise and cleaning. But I need to master Circle Time, first.

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