To provide a community within which our children experience a sense of belonging. To skillfully guide and affirm our children as they explore, question and develop their own spiritual beliefs and the shared values of the Common Street Spiritual Center.
- Meet the needs of young children and their families who are current or prospective members of CSSC
- Provide children ages 3-10 with an age appropriate alternative to Sunday circle
- Familiarize children with the values and practices of CSSC
- Foster confidence in the child’s own innate spiritual and ethical wisdom.
- Integrate families and other caring adults into the spiritual and ethical education of our community’s children.
Teaching Philosophy and Methodology
Our teaching philosophy is based on the understanding that children are innately spiritual. Our teachers aspire to foster confidence in our children’s spiritual development by affirming their right to know, trust, share and act on their own inner wisdom. Content is delivered through the use of narrative and a variety of engaging activities. Learning occurs when children engage in exploring, experiencing, creating, discovering, reflecting and interacting with adults and peers.
We are excited to welcome our new Children’s Circle Lead Teacher, Jennifer Goodman. We are so grateful for the creativity, compassion, playfulness and spiritual insight she brings to her work with children. Jennifer has a wealth of experience as a holistic family counselor and teacher in the Waldorf tradition (for more info please read her bio on our staff page and for questions about the program feel free to email her at email@example.com).
The curriculum is based on the shared values of the CSSC. Each session will consist of a six week exploration of a paired themes followed by two weekend workshops and at least one family gathering.
Children’s Circle 2017-2018 (Thematic Overview and Outline)
You’re welcome to bring your children every week or as often as fits your schedule and/or participate in select six week sessions; we’re experimenting with this program and we invite you to experiment too!
In the first three sessions (spanning September to February) there is an intentional build up:
- Building our community is the first step (session 1),
- Looking around with clear eyes and finding a way to give is the second (session 2),
- Then we reach the heart of love (session 3).
- Service is a way back out of the center of love into a more conscious giving (session 4). So of course we would love for children in our community to experience the whole of progression.
In between each six-week session on a pair of themes we will have space to build/maintain friendships and integrate learning experiences through a mixture of free play, arts and crafts, and occasional guest presentations by members of the community in areas such as gardening, mindfulness, and music.
Community & Compassion: Taking a genuine interest in each other
September 17, 24 • October 1, 8, 15, 22
Let’s get to know each other! We will explore how community enriches and supports us, focusing on the children’s experience of family, friends, and the Spiritual Center, with an eye to their expanding awareness as they grow and mature to be able to embrace world concerns. We will listen to each other, tune in, and playfully connect. We will also reach out with activities that will contribute to the communities in our daily lives, like our homes and families.
Gratitude & Generosity: Remembering all that we receive
November 12, 19, 26 • December 3, 10, 17
Bringing our awareness to all that supports us as we go through our lives, we will show appreciation and give back in a season of abundance and generosity. We will think about simple ways for the children to express love to those most important in their lives, as well as reaching out to people they don’t know yet.
Love & Service
January 14, 21, 28 • February 4, 11, 18
What connects us? How can we experience our own divine love? How can we give of ourselves freely? We will focus in on the heart of love in this sweet, inward season of winter.
The Cycle of Nourishment: Feeding ourselves, others, and the earth
March 11, 18, 25 • April 1, 8, 15
Workshops are an opportunity for community members to serve as guest teachers. During this time guest teachers will share their passions, skills and diverse spiritual and religious practices as it relates to the current theme.
Family gatherings are an opportunity to strengthen the community, expand on curriculum themes and support parents as they nurture their children’s spiritual and ethical development. These gatherings may be in the form of a community service project, hike, holiday celebration or shared meal.
Parents will be provided with supports to expand their child’s experience in the Children’s Circle. In addition to family gatherings parents will receive in writing an outline of the day’s theme and activities. This may also include talking points or activities to further engage their children in the exploration of the session’s theme. Additionally, parents will be provided with a suggested reading list (adult and children’s books) and will be encouraged to utilize the Children’s Circle library.
The daily rhythm of the children’s circle is based on the structure of the adult circle, preparing children for participation in the larger community.
10:30-10:35 Children Participate With the Adult Community
Children are included in the full congregation and join in the centering moment. Rev. Ian may make an announcement that the children are welcome to stay or join the teachers for a children’s service focusing on (state weekly theme)
Children transition downstairs.
10:40-10:50: Children’s Greeting & Centering Moment
Children form a circle, with guided visualization they quite themselves.
Passing the rock: children say their name and answer an introductory question designed to help children connect with themselves in the moment or to the daily theme.
An overview of the day will be given.
10:50-11:05 Story & Snack
The story will serve as an introduction to the day’s theme. The teacher will pose an open ended questions during and after the reading to encourage engagement and reflection into the story’s message.
A fun activity will be planned to explore the day’s theme. The activity will be flexible enough to accommodate all ages or older children will be paired with younger children to assist.
11:30 -11:45 Cooperative Clean Up and Closing
Children will work together to clean up the space and return to the circle
Children are invited to reflect on and share their experience of the day while practicing respectful listening.
Children are thanked for sharing. Transition Upstairs.
11:45 Join the Adult Service